Supply Chain Wednesday


On YouTube




(1) Cost Effective: This means that the price of doing something is good.

(2) To pick and pack: To get an item and put it in a container.

Factories in countries like China are usually more cost effective because the pick and pack workers work for low wages.

(3) Tote: A plastic container.

We used plastic totes instead of cardboard boxes when we moved to a new house. They were much stronger.



1. Where did Mick work before?

a. Amazon

b. Webvan


2. What problem nags at him?

a. How to cost effectively pick and pack various items

b. How to send a can of soup for less than $1.00

c. Shipping stuff out of a warehouse

3. What solution does he imagine?

a. An item magically appears

b. A company-centric solution

c. Both A and B

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

Mick Mountz–Let the Inventory Walk and Talk (Part 3)

What I need is a system where I put out my hand and “poof!” a product shows up. -Mick Mountz

Sounds pretty good right? Products magically appearing. In this week’s lesson, we’ll look at why Mick Mountz wants products to magically appear. We’ll see the problem he’s trying to solve. You’ll learn some vocabulary you can use to describe shipping problems and you’ll improve your supply chain listening skills.

In the past two weeks, we looked at some important vocabulary and the start of this video. If you haven’t seen those lessons yet, check them out first.

In this week’s section of the video, he explains a little more about his personal history. He got his start at a company called Webvan. Webvan wanted to deliver groceries to people. However, the company failed. At 2:10, He says:

We couldn’t do it cost effectively. It turns out ecommerce fulfillment is very hard and very costly. We had an $.89 can of soup that was costing us $1.00 to pick and pack into that tote.

So Webvan failed because it wasn’t cost effective.

But the problem stayed with him after he quit. He noodled on it. (Which means he thought about it.) And it nagged on him. (Which means it bothered him.) Material handling providers just didn’t have a solution. They took pallets and cases of goo and shipped them out. The pallets and cases had many of the same product instead of having many different products like you would need for a grocery store order.

What he wanted was an operator-centric approach to the problem. He wanted to help the workers become very productive. He imagines a system where products magically appear and the pick-pack worker can just put them into a tote.

Next time, we’ll see some more about how he thought about the problem.

For today’s lesson, I also created a quiz on TedEd. That’s a great website for studying online videos. Check it out here.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, B, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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