I Had a ‘Real World’ Experience Just This Morning

It was clearly outside the ‘academic world,’ which is the definition of ‘real world,’ as I am not an academic and haven’t even really been near one since my school days. Disclaimer: I do edit work by university professors from time to time when they try to worm their way into professional journals, so I confess to a nodding-acquaintance with the academic world.

But not this morning.

This morning my experience was clearly real world

It happened at our modest country cottage, some forty miles north of Prague, while I was walking Tenny, our Labrador. As we each meandered down the gravel road, lost in our own thoughts—hers motivated by a nose that knows all truths and mine by the pleasure of a sunny morning—my attention was attracted by a dove on the powerline.

It cocked its head in my direction and cooed rather intimately. I returned the compliment in human language, commenting on how lovely it was and how it had measurably improved my attitude toward the world in general but, specifically, in a real world sort of way.

All of which begs several questions: is it possible to have an experience that is not real world? And, if so, is that possibility so rare that using the phrase ‘real world experience’ is redundant? And how come academics get off the hook?

It’s hard to get more real world than a bird on a wire

And I might not have thought much further about this had it not been for an article in my morning perusal of the news that caught my eye and likened my bird on a wire to an international shortage of computer chips.

(CNBC) The global chip shortage is starting to have major real-world consequences. The severity of the global chip shortage has gone up a notch over the last few weeks and it’s now looking as though millions of people will be impacted. As technology has advanced, semiconductor chips have spread from computers and cars to toothbrushes and tumble dryers — they now lurk beneath the hood of a surprising number of products.

By comparison, my dove was quite clearly a minor consequence. As a matter of fact, in my particular case the somewhat limited dove conversation was far more of an event for me. It all comes down to predictability.

Everyone with a brain saw the supply-chain breaking

Not to put too sharp a point on it, but what could the manufacturing world (surely a part of the real world) possibly have had in mind when it came to rely on flexible sequencing? The premise is, that by getting the precise part available at the precise moment in the manufacturing process, a blue door handle will be elegantly available for a blue door.

It’s also called just-in-time manufacturing and its birthplace reaches way back to Henry Ford. But except for tires, Ford made all its own parts and thereby kept control. Henry had it figured long, long ago. But memories are short, history fades into the dim past and now takes precedent. Looks like we’re paying a steep price for forgetfulness.

Getting down to the nitty and the gritty

(Blume Global) It’s not just globalization that creates difficulties for automotive suppliers and builders. Changes in manufacturing processes, consumer demands and new, disruptive trends all impact on the vehicle supply chain network for raw materials, parts and finished automobiles. Both internal and external factors require automotive supply chain managers to minimize costs, optimize manufacturing and distribution, and ensure that parts and products get to the right organizations at the right time.

What could possibly go wrong?

The automobile assembly plant represents only the final phase in the process of manufacturing an automobile, for it is here that the components supplied by more than 4,000 outside suppliers, including company-owned parts suppliers, are brought together for assembly, usually by truck or railroad. Those parts that will be used in the chassis are delivered to one area, while those that will comprise the body are unloaded at another.

Four thousand birds on four thousand wires

But still a real world experience, whatever that may mean.

Yet ships do get stranded in the Suez Canal, pandemics close supplier locations and remote supplier manufacturers in dozens of nations across the planet are the weak inks between pre-war Ford and 21st century automakers.

Who could possibly have been surprised?

I’ll ask the dove if he’s back on my wire tomorrow morning.

Image Credit: Wikimedia commons

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