” Hey Dad, what’s your job? “

I’m the father of 2 very talkative and curious little girls… 👭 who ask questions from the moment they open their eyes in the morning, to the evening when they go to bed after a day rich in learning and discovery.

Consequently, questions related to my job come up quite regularly in our discussions…

Even if we know the supply chain in detail, and practice it daily, it’s not easy to explain it, especially when you’re talking to non-initiates like your children, your parents or any other relative who has no affinity with our domain! 🤔

Why is it so difficult to explain Supply Chain ?

➡️ Complexity: Supply Chain is a set of interconnected activities, from procurement, production, and logistics to distribution. It includes complex concepts such as inventory management, demand forecasting and process optimization.

➡️ Lack of familiarity: Supply Chain is not a topic widely addressed in everyday conversations. It’s not something that children learn about at school, or that our parents can experience directly in their careers!

➡️ Technical terminology: supply chain experts often use industry-specific jargon and technical terms. Using these terms without proper context or explanation can lead to confusion and complicate understanding of our business.

At the same time, as Albert Einstein would say:

“If you can’t explain a concept to a 6-year-old, you don’t fully understand it”.

So, how do we explain the Supply Chain in an accessible way, without losing its meaning?

We need to find the right balance between simplicity and precision. Oversimplifying can fail to transmit the full scope of the field, while adding too much detail can lead to information overload.

So here’s what I explained to my daughters, trying to adapt to their level of knowledge and understanding, and using relevant examples and analogies with our daily lives. I hope this will be useful 😉

“When we go to the store to buy toys 🧸, food 🥕 or clothes 👗, have you ever wondered how these things magically appear on store shelves, ready to be bought? Well, it’s not magic ✨, it’s the result of the work of the Supply Chain 🔗!

The Supply Chain is like a great interconnected journey that starts from the moment the toy is produced, packaged, transported, and delivered to the store where someone is going to buy it as a gift or for use.

First, there are people who come up with fantastic ideas for toys, like robots or dolls. They design them and then decide how they are to be built. Then, people working in factories 🏭 will use various materials, tools and machines to mold, shape and assemble the toys.

Once made, the toys must be carefully packaged 📦 and labeled so that everyone knows what they are. This is important because we don’t want to confuse a toy train with a puzzle!

Then big trucks 🚚, boats 🚢 and planes ✈️ are used to transport the toys from the factory to a warehouse. It’s as if the toys are on an adventure of their own! The warehouse is like a gigantic room where many different things are kept before being sent to the stores.

Once the toys have arrived at the warehouse 🏢, another group of people takes charge of organizing them. They make sure that the right toys go to the right stores. Can you imagine the mess if all the toys were mixed?

Finally, the toys are loaded onto trucks and delivered to stores 🏪 near us. That’s when we see them on the shelves, waiting for us to choose the ones we want. They can also be delivered straight to our mailbox 📫 if we’ve ordered them over the Internet 💻.

Sometimes things get complicated, and they may not arrive on time, or there may be too many or not enough.

That’s where I can help as a Consultant 🦸‍♂️, to support companies in making this journey as smooth and efficient as possible. I work with the people who make the toys, the people who pack them, the trucks that transport them and the store that sells them. I help them find the best solutions 💪 to ensure that the toys are made efficiently, that the right quantity is produced, and that they use the right means of transport to move them from one place to another, so that they arrive at the store at the right time for you to have them when you want them 👍.

You see, the Supply Chain is like a big puzzle 🧩, and each piece is crucial to making it all work. It involves many people: toy designers, factory workers, warehouse logistics operators, truck drivers and store employees. They all work together to ensure that the things we love are available for us to enjoy.

So, the next time you see a toy 🪆, a book 📚, or a box of cookies 🍪 on the store shelves, remember that it took a whole chain of dedicated people to make it happen. It’s a remarkable process that brings joy to our lives ✨.

Don’t forget to appreciate the efforts of everyone involved 👏, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be part of the incredible world of the supply chain yourself 🦸‍♀️🦸!