Hardest Supply Chain Job in the World!

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Hardest Supply Chain Job in the World!

I am always amazed at how much supply chain is woven into everyday life. Little did I know that a three year Business diploma in Materials Management and then 15+ years of working in the supply chain industry was all just preparing me for the toughest supply chain job I’d ever face – Parenthood!

In today’s world of 50/50 parenting I say Parenthood rather than simply Motherhood because I know that the working men out there know what I am talking about. My son is now 3 years old and from day one I’ve been using my supply chain background to keep my head above water as a parent. Especially since I don’t have a lot of control over the idiosyncrasies of his little personality; it’s nice to be able to ground myself in some hard and fast principles in our daily routine. To enlighten you a bit on just what I mean…. Those first few weeks and months there was a reliance on precise Master Scheduling to get the feedings down pat and get him into a regular sleep routine. He was bottle fed so there was a lot of planning involved with mixing just enough formula, not so much that I had waste, but ensuring I wasn’t going to run out at 3am (this happened once-nothing like mixing a batch of formula and filling baby bottles in the quiet early morning hours!) As he grows and becomes more and more active there is a constant need for Inventory Control on clothing and toys. I’ve created a regular ‘cycle count’ routine in his closet and dresser searching out shirts and pants that no longer fit and I have a box at hand to store this ‘obsolete’ clothing until the box (or boxes since I regularly fall behind with removing the obsolete inventory from our house) is full and I ship it off to a friend or relative with a child slightly younger than mine to share the hand-me-downs. And, similarly I have a box of larger size clothing stored in his closet in order to replenish the obsolete with new product! Toys have a longer shelf life than clothing, which means keeping them organized is even more important otherwise we end up with a room full where it’s difficult to shut the door without them all falling out on top of us. And like it or not, the supply is replenished on every birthday, Christmas, Easter, or each time he visits Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Finally, the older he gets the more prominent the Project Management and Logistics skills become. Early on it is limited to scheduling and attending doctor appointments and the like but it quickly turns into organizing birthday parties with various themes and ensuring he makes it to extracurricular activities like swimming lessons and soon, T-ball and soccer. And, if you didn’t think doing all of this for your own child was enough, throw in the need to get him/her to other children’s birthday parties (present in tow) and outings. So, if you are a parent who works in the supply chain field, on those days when you are working away and thinking “Wow, what have I accomplished today? I sat in meetings or worked on things that are not even my job,” just remember, you are keeping your supply chain skills current every time you manage to show up on time to an appointment or manage to not run out of milk!

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Navdeep Sidhu
- January 07, 2013 at 5:27pm
I never thought of parenting as an exercise in supply chain management but you make some great points! Running a family's schedule is probably some of the best supply chain training you can have, especially as your family grows and suddenly it's three times as much clothing/toys/appointments to keep track of.

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