Believe it or not, they called this 'Just-In-Time'

Flashback to 1990, when this pilot fish is helping to install a merchandise tracking system at a brand new distribution center.

"The merchandise 'pickers' were given tickets to retrieve stock from the warehouse shelves," says fish. "These tickets were then gathered in large baskets and sent to a processing room.

"In that room, a group of about 20 people would enter the ticket number and toss the ticket into an overhead trough. The trough had a belt feeder that moved the tickets through a small opening into a second auditing room for matching against the main inventory.

"About a week after the center went live, I got a call that we were missing records in our audit database. Remembering the lessons I had learned from my seniors in the programming areas about punch card problems, I went to check out a hunch.

"I went to the sort room, got up on the central table and peeked into the trough.

"As I suspected, there were dozens of mangled pick tickets stuck in the conveyor belt.

"They fixed it by putting some stiff brushes along the edges, like on an escalator."

Sharky prefers email anyway. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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