Thursday, July 12, 2012
Disney ‘Imagineers’ a Supply Chain Port Closer to Home
My trial of contributed articles to this blog continues this time a nicely written piece by Pete Kontakos who writes about multiple subjects, including supply chain management online and online education. EDITORS NOTE: If Disney can't make supply chains interesting, who can?
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts recently announced it will be importing almost all of its merchandise through Jaxport, the state-of-the-art logistics hub in Jacksonville, Florida, instead of through the previous port in Savannah, Georgia.
"From a business decision for us, it's about optimizing our supply chain and being able to minimize the cost associated with bringing freight here,” explained Anthony Connelly, Senior VP and CFO of Disney’s Parks and Resorts.
Disney is not the only one who will be saving money. Those savings will be passed on to the millions of consumers who visit Disney venues every year.
‘Imagineering’ a Supply Chain
The term ‘Imagineering’ was coined by Disney’s supply chain executives to describe the marriage of precise engineering with the imagination that makes Disney the most magical place on Earth.
In their estimation, this magic should not be lessened by the day to day operations of running the parks and resorts. This is why visitors never see a delivery truck or van on the premises, or shelves being stocked by employees. This way visitors get the feeling that all of the food and merchandise somehow magically shows up exactly when it’s needed.
Meet the “Utilidor”
Walt Disney understood human nature perhaps better than anything else. He knew movie audiences had no interest in seeing the unglamorous behind the scenes of making a film. They simply wanted to be swept away by the story. He used this insight when building the Disney theme parks and decided it was essential to keep the supply chain invisible from visitors.
To do this, Disney designed a one-square-mile-wide labyrinth below the park’s main streets called the “Utilidor,” which is short for “Utility Door.” The Utilidor feeds goods to the parks attractions surreptitiously and is stocked with a three day supply of inventory at all times to ensure all merchandise is there when needed.
An Invisible and ‘Green’ Supply Chain
In a recent interview with John Lund, Senior Vice President of Disney’s supply chain management, he spoke of the green initiative within the company’s logistical operations. “The company is committed to minimizing its overall impact on the environment while encouraging and activating environmentally responsible behavior on the part of cast members and employees, guests and business associates throughout the world.”
This initiative signifies an awareness on the part of Disney executives that providing a magical experience for visitors is not enough; the magic must be delivered with transparency as well as conscientiousness of reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
Moving forward, Disney’s supply chain executives aim to conserve water, energy and ecosystems; to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to minimize waste; and to inspire public consciousness in support of environmental sustainability.
Disney’s Parks and Resorts is a perfect example of why supply chain management is crucial to providing ultimate customer satisfaction. By leveraging flawless – and imaginative – supply chain execution, Disney is able to create magical memories for their visitors.