Farm Industry News Blog

An Army of One

Team FIN farmer Jeff Ryan learns a lesson in transportation and logistics on the farm.

There was a major at Iowa State University when I was there about 25 years ago called “Transportation & Logistics.” It has more than likely changed to a more marketing-friendly name by now, but it dealt with a lot of things related to getting stuff where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. One of the past descriptions of the major went something like this:

Transportation and logistics management is a discipline concerned with the efficient flow of materials through our industrial and economic system. Transportation management deals with the management of the domestic and international modes of transportation in today's rapidly changing economic environment. Logistics management assumes the systems approach to the management of a wide variety of activities such as inventory control, warehousing, traffic management, location analysis, packaging, materials handling, and customer service.

That may have been a minor I should have considered. It seems like a lot of my time involves getting stuff where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, without tying up a lot of resources. 

Thanks to a couple of my tools, I found a solution a couple years ago in a roundabout way. I am now an army of one. 

Yes, it looks like pure recreation at all times to some people, but the GuyNo2Mobile, a 1961 Volkswagen dune buggy, has a tow bar on it. I can attach it to the front bumper and pull the buggy behind whatever has a decent hitching point on it. That means I can take a tractor into the dealership for service and pull the buggy behind me. There’s no need for me to have someone meet me there and then take me back again when the service work is done. I’m essentially self-contained. No need for a shuttle driver to wait around for me or to rush to get to where I will be when I will need a ride. No need for me to do the same.

To better fit my schedule a couple years ago, I took a load of round bales to the weekly hay auction in nearby Fort Atkinson in the morning pulled behind the Ranch Hand. Not looking to tie up staff with shuttle work, I hooked the GuyNo2Mobile behind my flatbed trailer and hit the road. Once there, I’d unhook the buggy, hop in and go back home for a couple more hours’ worth of work before returning for the 1:00 auction. 

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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