Using iPad & Apps to Transform Just-in-Time Delivery at Luck Stone

Posted Friday, April 25, 2014 in Innovation by Patricia Seybold

This case study about Luck Stone’s crushed rock business hits one of my hot buttons: Why does everyone design business processes for the “happy path” and then turn themselves inside out dealing with the inevitable exceptions? Why not make your business processes completely just-in-time? If **** happens, it’s more likely the rule than the exception.

I remember talking with the VP of Operations at Delta Airlines about this idea. It had occurred to him that a much easier way to run an airline would be NOT to pre-schedule everything and then have to change everything all the time based on weather conditions or mechanical problems. But, he explained, customers and regulators need to know what the schedules are. So Delta optimizes its operations so that things (passengers, planes, & crews) are supposed to wind up where they need to be at the end of each day.Embracing a Non-Linear Innovation Process

Delivery of needed supplies is one of those just-in-time scheduling opportunities, particularly if the supplies are available and don’t have to be manufactured to order. So I was interested to learn about how Luck Stone, a large rock quarrying operation in the southern U.S., has transformed its delivery system to be exception-based. There are several interesting patterns in this case study:

  1. Luck Stone iPad AppGoing paperless triggers transformation.
  2. If you rely on third parties to deliver your products, GIVE them appropriate technology to interface with your systems (in this case, iPads equipped with Luck Stone’s app).
  3. Focus on transforming business processes that impact your customers.
  4. Cross-functional innovation takes root well in a culture that is steeped in values-based leadership (at least one in which where creativity is a core value).

Culture Nurtures Innovation at Luck Stone
How Values-Based Leadership Fosters Innovation in a 90-Year Old Company
By Patricia B. Seybold, CEO & Sr. Consultant, April 25, 2014



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