Sparking Joy in the Warehouse

7/16/2019

It’s always interesting to me when someone’s name suddenly becomes a verb: to “Tonya Harding” someone, or to “Grayson Allen” another player (okay, I admit, I’m a UNC fan).The latest iteration of this is to “Marie Kondo” your home. If you haven’t watched her, she’s worth your time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvyeapVBLWY.

I love Marie Kondo: she’s like watching Hoarders, but much kinder and more respectful. And she’s helping people.By now you have heard her famous keep/discard decision-inducing tag line: “Does this item spark joy?”.

I realized that what the business world needs is a Supply Chain Marie Kondo. Most of us struggle with junk that accumulates in the warehouse. As the owner of a 3PL warehouse for 40+ years, I saw a lot of customers make illogical inventory decisions. Product sat in inventory for sometimes 20 years, slowly losing value and accumulating dust. No amount of gentle prodding could persuade the customer that perhaps they should cut their losses and throw away or donate their “valuable” product.

And it’s not just customers’ inventory. A number of years ago, we landed an account handling bales of cotton. We cross-docked it from rail to truck: hundreds of railcars. We initially used our carton clamp to handle the bales, but we soon discovered that cotton bales will quickly destroy a carton clamp, so we purchased a cotton bale clamp for around $3500.After the initial season, we never saw another cotton bale.The clamp sat in the corner.Then it got moved and moved again and again until eventually it settled in the back of a row in the back of the warehouse. One day, while walking the warehouse, I spied the clamp…dusty and rusted.I went immediately to my office and googled “used cotton bale clamp”.I found a used equipment dealer would buy it and a couple of weeks later, I was $500 richer. You might say I was $3000 poorer, but I disagree.The clamp was not only not generating income, it was taking up warehouse space that could be rented out.

I propose a “Marie Kondo Supply Chain Tag Line”: If it will not “spark” cash in six months, thank it for it’s service and sell/dispose/donate. Your warehouse will be a more joyful place.


Permalink