Santa Supply Chain. Transportfolio by C.H. Robinson
In a few short days, we’ll be celebrating the holidays with our families. And, since this is the first major holiday season since I joined C.H. Robinson, I’m a bit nervous about the inevitable question: What do you do at work? How do I explain logistics, demand forecasts, sailing schedules, delivery windows, and everything else that’s involved in the world of supply chains? And, would my family and yours truly understand?
Most people around the world understand the story of Santa. They understand that he designs, makes, and delivers toys to good little girls and boys all over the world. And isn’t that, in essence, the definition of a supply chain?
Children love stories
I propose we tell our families a story, rather than diving into the complex details …
Stories are the perfect way to explain complex concepts in an easy to understand way. That’s why so many are passed down—Aesop’s Fables, the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales, even The Night Before Christmas.
They’re entertaining, but they’re also informative. Hansel and Gretel teaches children to stay away from strangers. The Ant and the Grasshopper teaches the importance of preparing for the future.
And The Night Before Christmas helps children imagine the magic of the season.
The magic of Santa
Some say that the magic of Santa is lost on adults. After all, knowing the truth about how the toys arrive under the tree each year is like learning the secret behind a magician’s trick. Or is it?
What I’ve learned is that unlike Santa, a company’s supply chain needs more than one man to get the job done—especially when you’re talking on the global scale.
Overall, last year’s holiday sales represented nearly 20% of total retail industry sales.* Think about every person, decision, and action involved in making that possible. It’s truly amazing when you consider the other eleven months of the year when those people are also working hard to keep the world’s supply chains moving.
Whether you’re in the retail industry or not, isn’t that just a little bit magical?
A new holiday tradition
If your family is anything like mine, reading The Night Before Christmas is a holiday tradition. Whether you read it in front of the fireplace with hot cocoa or curled into bed, it’s the perfect story to send the family off to bed with sweet dreams of dancing sugar-plums.
There’s no doubt that Santa has his own personal brand of magic. This year, I’m starting a new tradition.
This season, I’m going to tell my family this story of supply chains. And about the magic of all the moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters in the logistics industry who work all year long to make sure the holidays are happy. And perhaps more importantly, that all the other days of the year are just as happy, too.
What will you tell your family this holiday season?
*Source: National Retail Federation, “Holiday FAQs,” https://nrf.com/resources/holiday-headquarters/holiday-faqs