How Hollywood can teach us supply chain lessons: The red carpet of logistics

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The power of film is well masked behind the facade of Hollywood scandals and celebrity faff. If you take a closer look, some movies can leave a lasting impression on principles to adopt in real life. With increasingly complex consumer demand patterns and globalization of operations, your supply chain could use a helping hand. The supply chain system is intricate enough without being worn down by tedious blogs and unimaginative thought leaders. They say don’t mix business with pleasure, but ‘they’ are still the uniform minds of the corporate world. Next time you’re contemplating adopting supply chain systems into your business, why not kick back and relax with these insightful movies with hidden lessons about successful supply chain implementation? We know what you’re thinking, just show me the money! So without any further ado –

  • Zootopia
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Setting aside the clear dystopian society of anthropomorphism, Zootopia actually streamlines the entire supply chain process into a sleek 5-minute lesson. In the movie we see Nick and Finnick selling small frozen treats named Pawpsicles. Apart from the sheer humor surrounding the “sly as a fox” disposition, we can draw insightful ideas from Nick’s business model. We witness how Nick acquired his raw materials at minimal cost (zero actually), achieved on-time delivery to the lemmings, and finally even managed to sell the redwood popsicle sticks to make a sizeable profit, thus attaining sustainability in the supply chain as well. 

Lesson 1: The Fantastic Four

The modern supply chain system is a balance between cost-cutting, customer satisfaction, SLA adherence, and sustainability. A tough combination to achieve, but a possibility nonetheless. 

  • Lion
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The second movie to put India on the map of Hollywood, Lion achieved more than just sensational cinematography and a plot that can keep you gripped for hours. The movie draws bigger parallels to real-life apart from the fact that it’s based on a true story, in the sense that it could teach you the importance of supply chain performance. The movie shares the life of a lost child, who finds his way back home after 25 years. The journey and pain he goes through to reach his final destination pays off with the sheer euphoria on screen in the last scene of the movie. Sure it would’ve been great if Saroo had stepped out of the train and came back home the same night. But his return after 25 years is more appreciated than his non-arrival. 

Lesson 2: The Ends Justify the Means

The supply chain is a tough road filled with terrors, and any deviation in plans shouldn’t affect the delivery of your product. The delivery must be made at all costs even if it shows up 25 years later, as long as it comes as Dev Patel, all is right. 

  • Arrival
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Spoiler alert! Although,  if you still haven’t watched the movie you’re three years too late. Arrival is a riveting movie about a linguist (Louise) working with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms. It’s clear that both parties are on different pages, neither being able to comprehend each other. But Louise figures out common ground and establishes a line of communication with the aliens which turns out to be mutually beneficial. Apart from this, she was also gifted with the ability to perceive time, being given the opportunity to change the present, fully aware of what is going to partake in the future. 

Lesson 3: Keep your friends close, but your customers closer

It is vital to establish good customer relations even when the supply process has been compromised.

Bonus Lesson: Back to the future

 A competent supply chain manager is able to use demand forecasting in order to anticipate customer requirements and ensure timely delivery. 

  • Premium Rush
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The epitome of supply chain movies (in the handful that exists) is Premium Rush, a movie revolving around a delivery boy- Wilee, risking his life trying to deliver a package, against the dangerous odds of a crooked cop. It makes you wonder why Wilee would put his life on the line for the measly amount he gets paid. 

Lesson 4: May the (work) force be with you

Your delivery executives form the crux of your supply chain. Their failure reflects yours thus they must be well compensated for the tough paths that lie ahead and mustn’t be exploited.

Bonus Lesson: Black Mirror – 3.0

If Wilee was well-equipped with technology rather than relying on his mental map of New York, with logistics software that factors in real-time constraints, perhaps the movie would’ve lasted an hour shorter. 

  • The Transporter
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The Transporter series outlines a clear set of rules that Frank follows in order to get his deliveries made on time. In his world, the failure to follow the rules would result in either death or incarceration. In yours, however, it would result in the eventual demise of your business. Frank’s rules include-

  • Never change the deal once it is made;
  • No names;
  • Never look into the package to be delivered;
  • Never make a promise you can’t keep;

Barring rule number two, Frank follows a system that can draw a parallel to modern world logistics. 

Lesson 5: If rules were meant to be broken, why make them at all?

Implement stringent rules in the logistics field and leave no margin for error in terms of non-adherence to SLAs, encroaching customer privacy and delays in delivery.

So there you have it. Hollywood at its finest teaching us more than just who you gonna call and how big an offer you cannot refuse. Next time you get caught on Netflix at the office, show your boss how Hollywood made your supply chain a force to reckon with.