“Neither snow nor rain ….”

On July 26, 1775, the Second American Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin as Postmaster General to organize and run the Post Office Department – the predecessor of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The USPS has a reputation for always completing deliveries on time. Its unofficial motto comes from an inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City, which reads: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

In fact, postmaster was considered to be such an honorable title that two postmasters went on to become President of the United States: Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman.


Turnaround Time

The amount of time taken to fulfill a request.

In computing, turnaround time is the total time taken between the submission of a task for execution and the return of the complete output to the customer/user.

If bringing in an item for repair, be sure to find out the turnaround time so you will know how long it will be before the item is ready for you to pick up after being repaired.

The total time consumed in the round trip of a ship, aircraft, vehicle, etc.

Aviation. the elapsed time between an aircraft’s arrival at an airfield terminal and its departure.

The process of completing or the time needed to complete a task, especially one involving receiving something, processing it, and sending it out again:


Program Updates

The earliest practical form of programming is generally considered to have been done by Joseph Jaquard in France in 1804. Jaquard designed a loom that would perform certain tasks when the appropriate punched cards were fed through a reading device.

Since 1804, programming has become much more commonplace, and new computer programs are produced every day. In order to keep up with the competition, most software companies will begin selling programs long before they’re perfect, only to release updates and newer versions as the programmers correct flaws and add new features.

Anyone who waits until their program is perfect to market it will find that their program is obsolete when it finally goes on sale.


Lean and Time

Lean manufacturing or lean production – known simply as lean – is a systematic approach to the elimination of waste within manufacturing processes. KaufmanGlobal’s glossary of terms offers the following definitions:

Lead Time – The total time a customer must wait to receive a product after placing an order. When a scheduling and production system is running at or below capacity, lead time and throughput time are the same. When demand exceeds the capacity of a system, there is additional waiting time before the start of scheduling and production, and lead time exceeds throughput time.

Takt Time – The available time over the customer demand. The term Takt is German and refers to cadence, rhythm or tempo. For example, if customers demand 240 widgets and the factory operates 480 minutes per day, takt time is two minutes. If customers want two new products designed per month, takt time is two weeks. Determining takt time serves to set the pace of production to match the rate of customer demand and is at the basis of all subsequent production design calculations becoming the heartbeat of any Lean system.

Throughput Time – The elapsed time required for a product to go through a defined process, from beginning to end, including both processing time and queue time / lead time. Throughput time for a process is synonymous with average lead time and is calculated by dividing the number of items within the process (i.e., work-in-process inventory) by the throughput.


What is a deliverable?

In his What Is a Deliverable in Project Management?, Kermit Burley, of Demand Media, writes: „In project management, a deliverable is a product or service that is given to your client. A deliverable usually has a due date and is tangible, measurable and specific.

A deliverable can be given to either an external or internal customer and satisfies a milestone or due date that is created and produced in the project plan. A deliverable can be a software product, a design document, a training program or other asset that is required by the project plan.“


Laboratory Turnaround Time

A report of the National Insitute of Health from November 2007 states:

Quality can be defined as the ability of a product or service to satisfy the needs and expectations of the customer. Laboratories have traditionally restricted discussion of quality to technical or analytical quality, focusing on imprecision and inaccuracy goals.

Clinicians, however, are interested in service quality, which encompasses total test error (imprecision and inaccuracy), availability, cost, relevance and timeliness. Clinicians desire a rapid, reliable and efficient service delivered at low cost.

Of these characteristics, timeliness is perhaps the most important to the clinician, who may be prepared to sacrifice analytical quality for faster turnaround time. This preference drives much of the proliferation of point-of-care testing seen today.


General George S. Patton

General George Smith Patton Jr. was born in California in 1885. From an early age he heard stories about his war-hero ancestors who fought in the American Revolution and the Civil War. Intent on following in their footsteps, Patton attended Virginia Military Institute and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

George Patton fought in his first battle in 1915 at Fort Bliss along the Mexican border during the Border War. He also served in France during WWI, where he became one of the leading experts in tank warfare. During WWII Patton served as a general, commanding the 7th U.S. Army in the invasion of Sicily and the 3rd U.S. Army during the French invasion.

Patton was considered one of the most successful combat generals in U.S. history, and his apparent battle-lust earned him the nickname “Old Blood and Guts.” A harsh commander, he was once almost discharged for slapping a soldier whom he thought was behaving cowardly.

He was known for making quick decisions, and once famously said “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”


Too little, too late

Crunch time – a critical moment or period (as near the end of a game or a deadline) when decisive action is needed. First known use: 1976. Example: The team had trained well, but at crunch time they just couldn’t perform.

In the nick of time – at the right or vital moment, usually at the last possible moment. The word nick refers to notches made in tally sticks that were used for measurement or score-keeping. First known use: Arthur Day’s Festivals in 1615. Example: The fire engines arrived in the nick of time.

Time is money – time is worth money. Similar maxims have been found as far back as 430 B.C. in ancient Greece, however this particular wording is attributed to Benjamin Franklin in his essay Advice to a Young Tradesman.

Time is of the essence – a phrase which, when used in American contracts, indicates that any delay, reasonable or not, will be grounds for cancelling the agreement.

Too little, too late – the action came too late, and/or was too limited, to be effective. The phrase originated in the U.S. in 1935, when historian Allan Nevins wrote in the May 1935 issue of Current History, “The former allies have blundered in the past by offering Germany too little, and offering that too late.”


First-mover advantage

First-mover advantage is gained by the first significant player in a market segment who gains control of resources that other participants in the market cannot match. Amazon had a first mover advantage over Barnes & Noble. Amazon maintained its advantage by partnering with Borders and extending product offerings into apparel, electronics, toys and housewares.

Rarely is a project, large or small, completed within schedule, within budget and meeting fully, much less exceeding, the specifications of the customer. The business world is seldom that simple. In the American business context quality is more likely to be sacrificed than schedule or budget. Americans expect products and services on-time, and at the price they agreed to. Quality – in the sense of completeness – can be made up for with extra effort.

When it comes to that magic triangle – schedule, budget, quality – the first two usually trump the third, in the U.S.

Trump. A card of a suit any of whose cards will win over a card that is not of this suit —called also trump card; a decisive overriding factor or final resource.


Partial Deliverables

Americans often accept – and can work with – partial deliverables. Partial not in the sense of a pizza not fully baked, or a car without the steering wheel, or a report for senior level management with facts but no analysis, but in the sense of so-called 80% solutions.

In fact, it is often the customer, whether a colleague, another internal organization or an external, who is satisfied with the imperfect or incomplete deliverable. 80%, in some circumstances even less, will do the trick, it gets the job done, has met the specifications.

It is not uncommon for an American colleague requesting something – the deliverable – to be unclear about what it is they need. Americans move fast, sometimes too impatiently. They are asked to deliver something. In order to do so, they in turn ask others for something.

If speed is of the essence, they don’t have the time to wait for the perfect product, to even define exactly their need. Often the nature of the subject matter makes it difficult for them to specify the deliverable.

In such cases, the seemingly incomplete product delivered quickly meets, possibly even exceeds, the needs of the requesting party, whereas waiting for the official complete product can mean unnecessary risk. Better o.k. and on time, than perfect but too late.