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The Power of Music in Supply Chain

Conventional wisdom dictates that a picture is worth a thousand words and stories are worth a thousand pictures. I believe that…and I use stories in my presentation regularly. Of course, picking the right story is critical to making the biggest impact. Sometimes, though, I have an audience that speaks a completely different language. How do you communicate to inspire then? I think the answer is music.

My daughter has been singing since she was five, starting by spitting out sentences in a rhythmic pattern and then moving on to making up songs. She starts singing as soon as she gets up in the morning, even when she’s brushing her teeth.  We got her a toy guitar and enrolled her in music school where she is learning to play the piano and the guitar and even to write songs. Now, she even has her own YouTube channel.  She has really taught me about the power of music.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of being drawn to certain songs without realizing why. Perhaps you listen to it again and again (that’s why they call these “sticky” songs earworms!). Songs, perhaps because of the rhythms of it or the singers voice, can make you feel good, and on a bad day, can make you feel better.  If a singer or an artist can make something that gets into people’s head even without them realizing it, that is a very powerful influencing skill.   

So, what does this have to do with supply chain? I know one amazing supply chain practitioner who brings a lot of passion to the job he does.  He’s always looking for ways to make things better. He tried an experiment where he gave the pickers in his warehouse Internet access for their iPods.

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

He added an extra service set identifier (SSID) to allow workers to connect to the Internet and listen to their favorite songs while they worked. His idea was that the pickers could tune into their songs and focus even more on their work without getting sidetracked by external distractions. The initial returns were good—workers were more productive. Unfortunately, the IT department shut down the SSID because it was causing Wi-Fi issues for others. I’m sure he’ll find other ways to capture the gains offered by music.

 Has anyone else tried music-based programs to add value in the supply chain? We’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments section below.

2 comments on “The Power of Music in Supply Chain

  1. Hank
    July 13, 2018

    Hi Puga, There is a high correlation between musical skills and mathematic/analytic skills. Afterall music in its most basic form is a mathematical language. As a musician matures their ability becomes a mix of mathematic and artistic skills. Being involved in organized musical activities my whole life I am a strong supporter of including music in all aspects of life. 18 years ago while leading the design and buildout of a 500K direct fulfillment center I made sure that the facility had a premium sound system because even at that time it was known that music had positive affects on worker happiness and their resulting productivity. One of my new hires from the University of Tennessee Supply Chain Program who had a musical background was put in charge of building out the music system, which in those days was wired speakers connected to an amplifier. We took music requests. Although not every song played over this facility wide system was everone's favorite, any music was better than no music. So yes, keep looking for ways to use music to improve supply chain performance. Without music our daily lives would be significantly diminished. Unfortunately, one of the first things cut when their is a short fall in school budgets is music. Our education system values math, science, language, and humanities over the arts which in my opinion is very shortsighted and misinformed. Keep your daughter actively engaged in music. She will do better in all her academic endevors and potentially she might help her dad out come college time by securing a music scholarship. You don't have to pursue a degree in music to obtain a music scholarship. Keep on tapping, Henry Canitz

  2. tomwoodie
    August 1, 2018

    I realy agree with you, I think people should have more confidence. It can help them to show his talent, open themself! Other should support these people, cause it's good deal.

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