We all have moments in our jobs where we ask ourselves: How in the world am I going to pull this off? (There might be a few other choice words thrown in there as well.)

 

When you have those episodes, I want you to think of us. That’s right, when you’re having your lowest professional moments, I want your mind (and then your web browser) to immediately go to the Supply Chain Expert Community. Why? Because there are nearly 6,000 members who can possibly lend a hand.

 

Just head to our “Discuss Supply Chain” forum and post your challenge, and let the community weigh in. Because I receive an email each time a discussion thread is posted, I personally seek out resources to help every community member find the answers they need. And I am a tenacious networker, so take advantage of that!

 

Speaking of challenges, take our latest poll: What's your biggest supply chain issue today?

 

We also want to hear from you when you’re at your best—share your lessons learned and victories with the community as well.

 

Be sure to explore some of our recent active discussions including:

 

Is the Outsourcing Job Vacuum real?

SKU Complexity Analysis

Forecasting: Does it belong to Sales and Marketing, or Supply Chain?

Sr. Business Analyst – Supply Chain/Operations, Barnes & Noble

 

See you on the community,

Lauren Bossers

Like many people, last Sunday I tuned into the Grammy Awards. I was partly driven to see how Whitney Houston was memorialized there, as undoubtedly others were. The show had its highest ratings since 1984—and its second-largest ever—attracting 39.9 million viewers.

 

 

What ended up resonating the most with me that night, however, wasn’t a performance, or an award speech. It was a commercial.

 

The Chipotle ad that aired during the Grammys features Willie Nelson singing Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” as a stop-motion video depicts the story of a man whose family farm evolves into an industrial animal factory. As the business grows, the farmer sees the error of his ways and, as the lyrics say, he goes “back to the start.” The factory is dismantled, and the animals are removed from cages and once again roam free. The final scene shows the farmer placing a crate into the back of a Chipotle truck.

 

This commercial, which was commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system, definitely tap dances on all of the heartstrings that it’s supposed to. To the idealist, it is great vision of the way things could (and can) be. And is there any better voice than that of Farm Aid co-founder Willie Nelson to represent the U.S. family farmer? But to the cynic, it will undoubtedly appear as a flagrant oversimplification (hey, what are the financial and logistical implications of all this de-industrialization, anyway?). For me, it triggers both optimism and pessimism.

 

The song lyrics also sparked another supply-chain-related response from me. If someone were to ever write a song about the challenges of supply chain planning, I think it might sound something like these select lines from “The Scientist” that play over the commercial:

 

I was just guessing

At numbers and figures

Pulling the puzzles apart

Questions of science

Science and progress

Do not speak as loud as my heart

Running in circles

Chasing our tails

Coming back as we are

Nobody said it was easy

Oh it's such a shame for us to part

Nobody said it was easy

No one ever said it would be so hard

I'm going back to the start

 

What do you think? Did these lyrics elicit a similar response in the supply chain portion of your brain? And what do you think of the commercial itself? Does it present an overtly idealized vision for farming in the U.S.? Can we really go “back to the start”?

It may be cold outside, but things are heating up on the Supply Chain Expert Community! U.S. employers added 243,000 jobs last month, and we’ve added quite a few on the community in recent weeks. If you’re searching for a new job, or looking to hire new team members, check out the Industry Jobs sub-community.

 

Speaking of cold weather, if you’re looking out the window at snow as I am today, you might be daydreaming about getting away to a warmer locale. Industry events can provide not only a great professional development opportunity, but also a chance to explore other cities. Take the current community poll and let us know which city you would rather visit for an industry conference: Las Vegas, Austin, New Orleans, or Phoenix/Scottsdale.

 

While you’re on the community today, explore some of our recent active discussions including:

 

S&OP Technical Expertise and Trends

Should manufacturers worry about 3D piracy?

Launching a product is a group sport. What position do you play?

How can small businesses innovate in the US?

 

Show these members some warmth on a cold winter day, and respond to their queries!

 

See you on the community,

Lauren Bossers

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