Weird and Wonderful Supply Chain Stories

Posted by Advanced Mobile Group on Sep 8, 2023 8:00:00 AM


Logistics seems like a serious business, but did you know it can also be fun and deliver some comedic anecdotes? Read how some logistics workers and warehouse employees have made their jobs more fun and produced some silly and even inspiring stories.

Supply Chain Rhapsody

Ready for a laugh? Or a good cry? Before COVID-19 was even a thought, Elementum created this spoof video for the Gartner Executive Supply Chain Summit dedicated to all the supply chain heroes who face daily challenges related to the unexpected and unplanned. Little did they know what was on the horizon. 

The Bullwhip Effect

It’s always interesting when someone takes an industry concept and makes it fun. If you want to learn from an authority in this industry, check out Stanford’s Professor Hau Lee’s Bullwhip Effect. It’s a classic, where Prof. Lee explains this supply chain concept using a real bullwhip!

The Beer Game

If you work in the supply chain, learning more about the Bullwhip Effect can be valuable. But you can do it in a fun and interesting way by experiencing “The Beer Game.” This is a way MIT’s John Sterman was able to simulate the supply chain for his students, which you can watch here

When The Office Runs The Warehouse

Don’t use any of this material as inspiration. But it sure is funny. This segment shows what happens when the crew of The Office is tasked with running The Warehouse in Season 8 of this popular show. 

The Warehouse Games

This isn’t so much about the supply chain. But it’s a cool and interesting story. A group purchased a warehouse specifically to host a Blitzball league. They have play-by-play commentators for their games and some current and former pro ball players participating in the action. Watching the videos, it feels like you are taking part in a major league event. 

Supply Chain Bathroom Video

It’s ironic that toilet paper became the hoarding item of choice at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly a decade before people began filling shopping carts and basements with the products, a team of MBA students created a “Funny Supply Chain Bathroom Video” to point out inefficiencies in the supply chain and offer some solutions. 

Supply Chain Disruptions and Cookies

Supply chain disruptions became a fact of life a few years ago. But no one could have predicted just how many different industries and products would be affected. In fact, it became challenging to be a Girl Scout in the wake of the pandemic because the organization was faced with cookie shortages. Imagine the many Girl Scouts having to explain to irate consumers that they wouldn’t be able to get their Thin Mints on time — or ever. 

Hershey’s Melted Chocolate

Speaking of sweets, there is a story in the chocolate industry about the early days at Hershey. Apparently, the brand didn’t consider the weather when it contracted for a large shipment of its products. Well, it was during the hottest days of summer. By the time the delivery arrived, the products were completely melted and useless. It was a valuable lesson in preserving cargo during transit and taking all external factors into consideration. 

The Power of Resilience

If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past several years, it’s that our supply chains are incredibly vulnerable. This video by Yossi Sheffi at MIT’s Supply Chain Management Program discusses the supply chain risk and the importance of resilience. 

Looking Past the Disability

A “wonderful” supply chain story comes from something Walgreens has become well-known for in the retail industry. The company has demonstrated true corporate leadership by designing its distribution centers to provide more employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The result is higher retention rates, fewer workplace injuries, lower absenteeism, and better productivity. 

The World’s Only Whale Warehouse

Not all warehouses contain products. PBS recently aired a story about the world’s only whale warehouse. The 20th century was highly reliant on the whaling industry for many reasons. This warehouse, now run by the Smithsonian, details the history of whaling and contains the skeletons of every species of whale on the planet. 

Getting the Suez Canal “Unstuck”

We all know the story of the massive container ship, the “Ever Given,” that got stuck in the Suez Canal for over a week, holding up roughly $60 billion in global trade. But how did the ship get “unstuck”? The answer is with a lot of teamwork. It took a week of dredging, tugs, and a massive team of salvage experts to free the ship

The Power of Logistics

If you want to be inspired, look no further than a good TEDx Talk. Terry Esper has an excellent TED Talk called “The Power of Logistics.” It’s an incredibly insightful look at how logistics can transform lives. For example, Esper discusses how Sears’ home delivery allowed African Americans to avoid discrimination and racism while shopping during the Jim Crow era. He also tells a powerfully moving story about Henry “Box” Brown. 

Supply Chain Transformation

Want to be inspired by some super intelligent people in the supply chain industry? Look no further than this amazing interview with Rich Sherman and Mitch MacDonald, both industry experts. They discuss how the industry has evolved and where it is going in the future. 

While what happens with your business is no laughing matter, there’s no denying that the supply chain provides plenty of material to keep things interesting. Fortunately, any mishaps or disruptions in the supply simply give businesses new opportunities to innovate and make things better moving forward. 

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