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At times like this, it is often what you don’t see that matters…

At times like this, it is often what you don’t see that matters…

26 Mar 2020

In continuous improvement circles, a common theme is “Hidden Savings”. Often, an image of an iceberg is used to show what one can see above water (the obvious) versus all that may exist under the water line (hidden). That illustration has been on my mind lately as I begin to see thinned out shelves in our stores. I am reminded of how most consumers only really see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our supply chain. During normal circumstances, we can choose from any number of stores, any time of day or night, and find virtually any item that enters our mind. And, if for some reason that fails us, we click “Buy” on Amazon and what we want is on our doorstep a few days later.  It is silly to think we all appreciate that incredible luxury – until it isn’t there. 

So, as I make my occasional trip to the local grocery store, I too am learning the new normal of not necessarily having that luxury – anything, anytime. And yes, I too roll my eyes when there is no toilet paper, milk, or bread on the shelf. This is temporary. It will all come back. In the meantime, all of us should gain a huge appreciation of those that make those luxuries (and necessities) available within an arm’s reach to us. We see the store personnel and they absolutely deserve tremendous credit and respect. Remember though, that there are so many essential men and women performing critical work “below the water line” – harder to see, but equally valuable.

I am giving a nod to truck drivers and distributors. They go unnoticed most of the time. Their work occurs usually in the wee hours of the morning. Product is moved from manufacturing facilities/warehouses to distributor depots and stores. It occurs like clockwork…regardless of weather or sickness. They are such a critical link in our supply chain. We all benefit from them – every single day. So, I say “Thank You” to those drivers and distributors as well as so many others that sustain and carry their link of the Supply Chain. 

In a time of so many discouraging and frightening stories, I challenge others to chime in with a few positive thoughts.  What groups of men and women do you “see” that others do not. Let’s call out the silent and hidden people/teams we all rely on before we go back to “normal” – taking these things for granted.