Monday, August 27, 2007

Auntie Em, Auntie Em, Was it a twister?

SuperValu in Mechanicsville, Va experienced a four and a half hour complete shut down of recieving operations today. Between the hours of 4:30am and 9am edt, the Mechanicsville Va. warehouse ceased operating in its normal yet hectic mode.

When asked for the reason why operations were ceased I was told that the computer system in Minnesota failed for some reason or another. The event prevented the Virgina warehouse from doing any sort of receiving business.

I ask, is this a common way to run a business of this size? SuperValu owns and operates many large warehouses through out the USA. To have them tied so tightly together through networking so that if one fails it takes down another does not sound like such a great idea. Was it a twister? Maybe a lightning strike hit the wires in Minnesota and traveled all the way to Va? It could happen you know!!

Seems to me that maybe it would be prudent to have each warehouse autonomous with hourly uploads of information to the main frame at the head office. Heck, even upload every one minute as far as I can see. But, to have such a thin client that an event hundreds of miles away stops normal operations is not good matter how much money you save. Walmart, Food Lion or even a local grocery chain can keep they're stores and warehouses up and running when any part of it's network goes down then SuperValu should be able to also.

Now, a few disclaimers!!

The info I got about the head office crashing came from a lowly dock worker. So, I did not take it at face value. I tried to access SuperValu's website and couldn't even get a 404 error. They were just not there. Nothing....loading page time outs up the ying yang. So, I'm gonna step out and assume (ya I know) that there was indeed a massive failure of the SuperValu network. I'm sure someone somewhere in Minnesota is pushing for a more autonomous setup for SuperValu's warehouses and I support him/her 100%. Come on SuperValu...get smart and put some funds into your IT system. Back ups and redundancy are the name of the game. Not spending the money on secure networking is really stupid.

Peace, love and put that hammer down.

i'm outta here