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First Thoughts
  By Dan Gilmore - Editor-in-Chief  
  Dec. 19, 2014  

Twas the Night Before a Supply Chain Christmas 2014


I first wrote a supply chain version of the Clement Moore classic poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" our very first year in 2003.

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Since then I have penned some new versions of the poem every few year, but when I looked back at all those, I decided the very first one was still by far the best, so I am going to repeat it again here in 2014, with just a couple of minor tweaks from the original to bring it up to date.

Hope you like it.


Twas the night before Christmas, and I was alone in the DC.

Not much inventory left - we forecast right, I can see.

Our performance reports were hung by the office with care,

And it looked like 2014 bonuses soon would be there.

As VP of Supply Chain, the buck stops right here,
But I would say overall we had a pretty good year.

Now the job isn't easy - for me or my team.
This year's challenges were as great as I've ever seen.

Cycle times shorter – we took out one more day,

While working with 5% less budget, by the way.

Oh the transportation headaches! Capacity and cost!

But that's what you get with all the drivers we've lost.

We re-optimized the network, became more driven by demand,

And improved perfect orders even more than we planned.

And Omni-Channel, my goodness, I need a magic wand

With spells to keep our company from being Amazon'ed.


As I pondered our year, there quick arose such a sound,

I feared a tall bay of reserve rack had just fallen down!

I jumped into my Cushman, raced past each and every dock door,

Towards the back of the DC - what would I find on the floor?

But as I swung round bulk storage, I saw I had nothing to dread,

For there sat St. Nick, on a new Crown truck, green and red.

The red matched his bright suit, which could not have been finer,

Though a small tag in the back did say "Made in China."

He was hanging some stockings from the racking's first beam,

And I could see on each one the names of my team.

On a pallet nearby sat a large sack, which he grabbed with a laugh,

And I wondered what Santa could have in store for my staff.

He said, "I brought you the gifts that will help you to achieve,

Supply chain excellence and flexibility in 2015, I believe.

"For your director of transportation, a new Cloud TMS,

Trust me, it will reduce current transportation distress.

"For your planning team, real-time demand visibility,

And a new IBP process that will drive much greater agility.

"For your inventory group, I can remove much of their pain,

Through true optimization across every echelon in the chain.

"Your DC manager will like the Voice pick system she'll be receiving,

And the advanced WMS that supports strong task interleaving.

"For you, a new Supply Chain dashboard, with all the metrics you want,

So you can see by the second who's performing, and who's not!"

Then he paused for a second, and put a finger to his lips,

Reached in his bag, and pulled out a fistful of chips.

"And the greatest gift of all, as I'm sure you'll agree,

Is for everyone, everywhere - lots of RFID!"

He dropped the tags in the stockings, turned round with some flair,

Pushed a button on the Crown, and it took off in the air!

"Thank you Santa," I shouted, "These are really great tools!

But we'll need help to deploy them, configure business rules!"

Santa yelled, "Yes, the value from tech is sometimes not resultant.

But my elves are just coders – better hire lots of consultants!"

And I heard him exclaim, as he floated high above,

"Yes supply chain's sure hard, but it's the business we love!"

Hope you enjoyed it. You can access a pdf here if you would like.


We're happily taking a couple of weeks off here relative to newsletters, but please keep tabls on the web site for the latest supply chain news. . Thanks for another great year. You'll see many exciting new features in early 2015. See you next year!


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