This past weekend I was trying to get into the holiday spirit and caught the original animated 1966 version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on television. While watching the show I was impressed by how the Grinch’s heart grows double in size with the joy the people from Whoville feel on Christmas morning. On the other hand, how did the Grinch pull off the logistical journey of a complete town pickup and delivery in a single evening faster than a superhero or an Amazon experience?
Don’t get me wrong but Max the dog in the show is really no match for all the reindeers in Santa’s arsenal. There must have been some sophisticated supply chain technologies at work here for planning and execution under the hood of that sleigh. For example, scheduling the individual houses for the pick-up of all the presents and food takes careful planning and sequencing for load balancing and sled efficiency. Never mind the amount of dog biscuits Max needed for fuel to get everything up and down the mountain. How does the Grinch know how much there is to pick up at each location without a digital supply network sending shipment booking requests or without knowing the supply and demand requirements for all the Roast Beasts and Colossal Jingtangler Cakes?
Then think of the status tracking requirements for estimated time of arrival, resource needs, or even risk management concerns of a supply chain disruption. The wooden antler on Max must have some type of IoT device to send GPS signals back to the control tower at Grinch central atop Mount Crumpit.
From a pick-up perspective, as the Grinch tosses trees and the Zoozit and Kazay game presents up and out the chimney for Max to load onto the sleigh, Max had to log in the pick-up times as milestone tracking while they continue to fall on his head.
Okay, I get it. He somehow completes the mission of pick-up and makes it back to the top of Mount Crumpit with all the food, trees, lights, and presents leaving not enough food for even a mouse. But wait, during the total chaos of pick-up he gets stopped by none other than our hero, Cindy Lou Who. Caught red-handed with her tree half-way up the chimney with a broken light, he tells her that he needs to fix it. Somehow he has the ability to repair the light through a maintenance work order system tied to inventory for light bulbs and achieve the ultimate degree of customer service.
Feeling quite proud of himself while Max takes a well needed nap back at home after bringing the loaded sled up the mountain, the Grinch feels he has stolen Christmas from the town of Whoville. But no, alas he hears singing and rejoicing in the morning — even without their who-pudding and schlott knot breads, their games, and even trees. The Grinch understands that Christmas is more than that and his heart starts to double in size.
He decides to bring all the goodies back to town and return all the items and food to their respective houses. This must be a challenge. He obtains from the Digital Supply Network the forward and backward traceability of each item and instructions on how to sequence the deliveries for each home to be most efficient. To help Max a little on the descent, the sled leverages the new electric rechargeable braking system that was recently installed.
The problem he encounters after picking up all the food now is whether the food is still any good. Is it safe for the people of Whoville to eat? Granted, Mount Crumpit is covered in snow and is in essence a cold storage facility. The Grinch therefore loads each satchel with a cold chain sensor and refrigeration packs to make sure the food stays fresh for consumption.
After a long day of pick-ups and deliveries the Grinch finds the meaning of Christmas and joins the festivities. Mayor Ned McDodd welcomes him into their hearts (probably after a hefty fine for breaking and entering) and they celebrate at no other than our heroine’s home, Cindy Lou Who. She is so appreciative that the light on her tree was fixed that she makes the Grinch carve the roast beast.
Max enjoys plenty of leftovers under the table. All is saved and there is joy at Christmas in Whoville thanks to supply chain technologies.
Happy Holidays and a blessed New Year to everyone.
David Cahn is Director of Global Marketing at Elemica, The Digital Supply Network Provider for the Process Industry. He has been implementing, marketing, and product managing leading enterprise applications for over 30 years including ERP, SCM, TMS, and WMS solutions and lived the word of customer-facing solutions and customer experience for the past few years. David has held leadership positions at Phillips, KPMG, CA, AMR Research, Aptean, and Infor. Additionally, he has started, built, and sold his own e-commerce and supply chain software company during the dot-com days and had his own corporate development consulting company to the software industry for over ten years.