The Night Before Christmas, Operations Style

Twas was the night before Christmas, when all through the warehouse,
Not a forklift was stirring, not even a mouse.

No stockings were hung, only safety signs that read,
Pedestrians beware, or you could end up dead.

The inventory was not nestled where it was supposed to be,
We were out of space—and all the world could see.

The supervisor in his ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down; he said he was “sick of this crap!”

Inaccurate inventory, not enough space,
He took a deep breath, then put his hands on his face.

How did we get here, he asked, what are we doing wrong?
How will we catch up with receiving, I thought to myself, the same tired song.

We dream of a warehouse management system to save us each year,
But it never comes, because lack of ROI is what execs fear.

What will we do when the customer on the phone asks, “Do you have that in stock?”
Smile, like always, and say, “Please hold while I check my receiving dock.”

Just then the CEO enters and asked how we’re progressing.
The supervisor smiles and said, “It’s going,” without confessing.

The CEO then tells of a time when customers weren’t so demanding,
When inventory was low and all he thought about was expanding.

Well, expand we have done, the warehouse bursting at the seams.
But is the DC too small? he asked, or should I speak with the purchasing teams?

The supervisor responded, no, I think we will be okay,
We just need to catch up on the receiving that came in the other day.

Well, we need to get those receivers entered, the CEO said, so we can close out this year.
So do whatever you can to make it all disappear.

He began to stroll down the aisle, stepping over the inventory,
Then turned and said, “Merry Christmas, you two,” and that’s the end of our story.

Rene’ Jones is the founder of Total Logistics Solutions (, a warehouse efficiency company.