Funny Stories from the Supply Chain Industry

 In International Shipping, shipping, Supply Chain

This is a guest post by Frank Bale.

The supply chain industry is typically a rather serious topic. Millions and millions of people count on it not only for luxury goods but quite often for essentials as well. This means that our entire society would suffer severe impact if any serious problems developed in it. Which, unfortunately, we can see quite starkly given the effects the pandemic has had and will have on the supply chain industry. However, this does not mean we need always be grim and serious about every little problem that pops up. While costly and certainly not fun in the moment, some accidents can be pretty funny in retrospect. So, in the name of that and loosening up with all the disasters we have recently suffered, let us take a look at some of the funny stories from the supply chain industry!

Supply Chain Meltdown

Supply chain going up in fireworks

Now, yes, the title of this story might bring up bad memories of the most significant supply chain disasters, but don’t worry! This is a story from the chocolate industry. Rumor has it that Hershey suffered quite an embarrassing episode back when it was still building its brand. Namely, they forgot to account for the weather. They had just signed a large shipment and, of course, were eager to deliver it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the sweltering summer heat surprised them. By the time the delivery was made, the products had thoroughly melted and become useless. Not only did the company have plenty of cleaning to do for their cargo transport, but they also learned a valuable lesson about preserving your cargo during transit. This certainly marks it as one of the most memorable funny stories from the supply chain industry.

Target Canada Targeted by Barbie

If there ever was a lesson about the necessity of learning how to efficiently declutter your warehouse and keep it neat, this is it. Back in 2015, many people were surprised when Target decided to shut down their attempt to get a hold of the Canadian market. What a lot of people do not know, however, is that the reason for that is the wrath of Barbie dolls and their cars. The company had accidentally ramped up the number of pink, Barbie-branded SUV toys to such heights they started overflowing their warehouses. This, in turn, entirely tanked their supply chain, making it unusable, teaching Target to fear the wrath of Barbie in the process!

Boats or Bananas

Another of the funny stories from the supply chain industry came about due to a linguistic error. “Banana boats,” as they were nicknamed at the time before air transport was a thing, used to serve as the leading suppliers of the tasty fruit. They were known for their speed and ability to deliver their cargo without spoiling. A slower supplier would not be able to make the journey without spoilage. This earned them their moniker, but it also served to produce a rather significant kerfuffle. When an enterprising business owner, looking to expand his fleet, contacted his employees and ordered them to get him more boats, there was a misunderstanding. Imagine his surprise when, instead of ten brand new boats, he found ten bananas waiting for him.

The Boeing Bang

Every business owner worth their salt is constantly looking for ways to optimize the supply chain to generate profit. So, when Boeing announced the launch of their 787 line and promised to revolutionize the industry, people jumped at the chance. The only issue was, well, Boeing somewhat underestimated the interest they would generate. And, instead of in 2008, the planes launched with a slight delay. You know, just a small one. Just… three years long. To say that the business owners who had already started making plans were upset would be an understatement, but it is pretty amusing to imagine the reaction when the “little” delay was announced.

Fed Up

The rivalry between USPS and FedEx is not exactly a new thing. It has, after all, been going on for a while. And it was especially bad back in the 90s when mail was a much more common way to quickly get important items or documents to someone. In comes a company charged with developing a better solution for bar code data collection systems, hired by the United States Postal Service. The work was done. The proposal was drafted. Now came the time to get it delivered, and with the deadline approaching, it needed to be delivered quickly. Option A: go to the nearest post office and send it. Option B: approach the USPS’s bitter rival and have them deliver the mail instead. Somehow, the company’s representative decided FedEx was the better solution. USPS was not amused to receive the proposal through FedEx, and the contract fell through. Definitely one of the more memorable funny stories from the supply chain industry, though.

The Drone Attempt

The inception of drone delivery was not what most people would consider exceptionally organized. Oh, it is undoubtedly useful now with supply chain chaos and sky-high freight rates! But it was a bit less reliable when the concept was first being put into action. Occasionally, opening your package was much like opening a loot crate in a video game. You never knew whether or not you would get quite what you ordered. Now, getting your order is important. But there is something to be said about expecting a book and receiving gardening equipment, and I speak from personal experience. A sign from the universe to get out and be more active, perhaps?

Final Comment

I hope that my funny stories from the supply chain industry have managed to lend at least a bit of levity to this trying time. What we are facing is not easy, but that does not mean we should not take the time to relax! I urge you to remember that no one can do business properly if they do not care for themselves. So, take a break! And find something fun to do, at least for a little while.

This was a guest post by Frank Bale.

Author Bio

Frank Bale is an experienced blogger dealing primarily with issues and news concerning the supply chain industry. He has over seven years of experience in the industry and has heard quite a few interesting stories and anecdotes. He likes sharing his knowledge and expertise, be the topic serious or lighthearted. 

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