J.I.T.? What’s that you ask.

I’m reminded of the story of a Battle of Britain ace named Robert Tuck, who, in the heady days before the Second World War thought that a career in the military would suit him to a tee. In particular, he was keen on a career in the Royal Air Force, so headed to RAF HQ for his career making – or breaking – interview with the brass.

Young Bob sat down for the interview and was having a great time, until one high flyer asked him “So, what do you know about I.C.E.?” Bob froze. I.C.E.? ICE? Ice? No doubt young Bob had thoughts of flying an aeroplane over the Arctic Circle, that was, until he realised that he knew nothing about I.C.E., least of all what the officer he was meeting meant by the question. In a flash of inspired brilliance Bob’s response was “I know as much as the next man I’d guess Sir,” and with that a stellar career as a fighter pilot was born.

I.C.E., by the way was the internal combustion engine, and the officer, who no doubt got his lieutenant’s pips prior to its invention, was probably sizing up the youngster’s capacity to nurse a Merlin engine back to life in the sands of the Sahara rather than questioning him for the secret to the success of a good gin and tonic.

If young Bob was asked about J.I.T. there’d be a similar response I’d hazard, because J.I.T. whether you know the term or not, is almost certain to put fear into you as a business operator. J.I.T., or just-in-time is a catchphrase describing a philosophy of ensuring your business has the products it manufacturers or stocks just-in-time for it to be used or sold. The idea is to reduce costs and improve return on investment. If you manufacture perishable goods or outside of the manufacturing sector, deliver things for a living (like gin and tonics) or provide services like emergency medicine then you can and should subscribe to a just-in-time business model. For anyone else it’s a bad idea – especially when it comes to the commercial photography that, dare I say it, is going to be the cornerstone of your business’ marketing success story.

Here’s why…

1). Murphy’s Law – The only day you’ve assigned to photography is the last day before you need to go to press, and on that day it WILL rain and you WILL want sunny skies in your shot

2). The sun is your friend; and your enemy – You WILL want sexy twilight photos for your marketing materials, but the talent will arrive late, take too long in hair, make-up and styling, and it will be half an hour after the sun goes down until you get to fire a shot

3). You will want shots taken at high tide – However the two times the Tamar is at high tide are an hour after dark and an hour before dawn

4). Something and/or someone will fail – Fail is the new ‘F’ word, but nobody is allowed to use it in public, which means no one is responsible for getting the photoshoot over the line

5). World-Wide Woes will kick-in – The Internet will crash, upload speeds will crawl, downloads will stall (…where are you NBN…) and the printing presses will stand idly by

6). Someone will call in sick – Or worse, someone should have called in sick rather than infecting the whole office with whatever lurgy they picked up on their recent trip to some tropical hot-spot

7). Life is unfair – Someone will blink, move, stare at the camera or in any one of a dozen other ways ruin the shot – sorry, let me reiterate, they will ruin THE shot – leading to hours in post-processing

8). Sundry items – Batteries go flat, things get lost, traffic is heavy, volcanos will spew their fuel into the upper atmosphere, the economy will tank, and something, somewhere will go awry, and no amount of insurance, time or money will fix the one thing wrong with a just-in-time business model – we the people.

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