When the liquor truck crashed…
Transportation of materials is an important aspect of logistics and can be, at times, very challenging
"Transportation of materials is an important aspect of logistics and can be, at times, very challenging," I commenced my session on material transportation to a bunch of MBA students in a B-School where I am a visiting faculty.
I hardly guessed that the day's interaction would lead to an interesting, rather intoxicating story.
"Assume that you want to buy materials for your company and have approached the suppliers for a price," I began explaining.
"You should carefully examine their offer for the price and delivery terms.
If the suppliers have given an ex-works or ex-warehouse price, then it means that their responsibility for delivery ends at their factory, store or warehouse.
"I continued, "On the other hand, if the suppliers have priced for delivering the materials to your storage area, then they become liable for any damage during transport."
One of the students suddenly seemed to be excited and said, "Sir, I want to share an unforgettable incident.
In fact, I had pondered about this liability during transportation years ago, even when I was a student of 12th standard.
And my curiosity landed me in serious trouble." He began to narrate his real-life story.
When he did his 12th standard, a liquor shop run under the umbrella of Tasmac (The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) sprang up in his locality.
The inaugural festivities of the shop that started from early morning of an auspicious day caught the boy's fancy.
He walked up to the mustachioed shop owner standing outside the liquor shop and told him, 'Uncle. Would you mind if I ask you to clear my doubt?'
The owner looked down upon the lad with an air of disdain and said sarcastically, "Open your bottle of questions, my lad."
The boy uncorked the query that lingered in his mind. "If the truck carrying liquor bottles to your shop meets with an accident, who'll bear the responsibility for the losses – You or the transporter?"
At this, the owner became restless and seethed with anger. He blurted out, "'I have never thought about this 'damage-during-transport' aspect.
Today, I'm inaugurating my shop and you little fellow pose me such an ill-omened question." Sensing trouble, the boy quietly slipped away and went to his school.
As his classes got over, rather unusually, a bunch of his family members were waiting to receive him at the school.
As the boy came out, they broke the news to him, "Do you know what happened? The truck carrying the first consignment to the liquor shop being opened in our area met with an accident and all the bottles got broken.
The owner particularly remembers you and is very upset with question that you seem to have asked him this morning. It's better you aren't seen in our area for a few days till his effervescence dies down."
The student continued, "So, I was transported to a safe haven and came out of hiding only after a few days after the dust settled down."
Hearing the mystifying story, my throat became parched and I gulped a glass of mineral water before continuing further.