Don’t Let Valentine’s Procrastination Fail Your Organization

Blog Post Breakthrough Results

If you are a procrastinator and you were like many people out the evening before Valentine’s day, you might have thought you were too late. Yes, many of the card shelves and gift aisles of stores were picked over leaving very few last-minute options for your special someone, but how could all of the candy sweethearts (you know, the little candies that have phrases of “I love you” and “Be mine” on them) be completely sold out? The truth is, they weren’t sold out because they weren’t even for sale. How is that possible? It’s an incredible rarity of supply chain failure in a technological age, but this was something people saw coming for over half a year.  

Necco, one of the oldest candy companies in the United States which produced not only the Sweetheart candies but also their namesake Wafers, went under in 2018. This came as a surprise to many as the candy has a cult following (people were offering to trade their cars for cartons of the discontinued candy). Although another candy company in September 2018 purchased certain brands and factories of the defunct company (including fear not, the Sweetheart candies), it was logistically impossible to restart manufacturing and distribution of the candies in time for Valentine’s day 2019. If you happened to find any of their candies on the shelves this past holiday, it would have been from a production run a year ago.  

Sure, there were competitors that marketed near-alternatives, but the consumer upheaval of the real McCoy means demand for Sweethearts’ return in 2020 is a pretty sure thing. How many people’s holiday was ruined with not being able to make that perfect idea or keep to a tradition? If people could get so upset about candy that sells for a few dollars, what would happen if other niche products or services you’ve come to rely on just being there when you expect them could have a similar disruption? Obviously, commodities like electricity, fuel, raw materials are monitored by businesses, but have you recently thought of the products and processes that seem to only be available from one supplier, one subcontractor, or one employee? Just because you’ve never had an issue maintaining your needs before does not guarantee a future of availability when you need it; just ask the man in trouble running around the store on February 13th empty handed.   

 Any forward-thinking leader looks for issues ahead and seeks to resolve them before their organization reaches them. But occasionally, one has to look at the more obscure areas of your operations to understand what’s being taken for granted that should not be.