Supply Chains

At some point inside of a deeper conversation, a co-worker of mine (in his defense: he is a web developer) asked me what Supply Chain Management was. Ok, so not everyone is up to speed on Supply Chain topics, let’s talk about that. 

Here is a great 2 minute video clip that uses pizza as an example to explain supply chains. Spend the 2 minutes, it’s a fun ride.

[youtube id=”OlIelAWikWQ” width=”624″ height=”360″]

The show, America Revealed is a PBS special that explores how hidden patterns and rhythms make America work. In this episode the host, Yul Kwon, winner of  the TV show Survivor (2005), shows us how machines feed  300 million Americans. From engineering, to nature, to our insatiable appetites, and on to topics of  health and environment, it’s all linked together, like a chain – a supply chain.

Investopedia says:[box]
“supply chain encompasses the steps it takes to get a good or service from the supplier to the customer.”

Yul Kwon connects a pizza a delivery route in New York City with California’s Central Valley, where half of America’s fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown. Essentially, supply chains link people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all job descriptions – everything from industrial engineers, to farmers, to crop-dusting airplane mechanics and pilots, to long-distance truckers and even the scientific equipment used to track those trucks and regulate the temperature of milk as it crosses the country… Now think for a moment and connect all of that to the pizza deliveryman.

So, what is “Supply Chain Management”? It’s a job. In fact, it’s multiple jobs, including interns, managers, VP’s, and more. They all look at how a product moves from point A to point B. And not just the product itself, but all the components of that product, from inception, to consumption, from the “factory” to the customers hands.

A few more examples of Supply Chains:

  • Apple Inc. effects the mining industry – because the company needs aluminum for iPhones.
  • American Airlines effects the peanut industry because it needs lots of little bags of peanuts.
  • Starbucks could buy a water purification company because they need clean water for their processing plants. Soon after, they begin selling coffee flavored bottled water.
  • Ok, that last one was a stretch.

So that was a brief rundown on supply chains. I guess you have a few things to do now:

  • Appreciate your pizza delivery guy a bit more. Read: increase that tip : )
  • Check out a few Supply Chain Management jobs over on Career Builder
  • Read a good book on the subject. Let’s see now, what’s a good… ahh, here’s one:

[amazon_link id=”0374292884″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century[/amazon_link]

Jareau AlmeydaSupply Chains