3 Ways Supply Chain Impacts Your Thanksgiving Dinner

3 Ways Supply Chain Impacts Your Thanksgiving DinnerNowadays, modern Americans catch a lucky break during the Thanksgiving holiday. During the early days of this American holiday, families gathered and hunted for their own dinner, whereas today, we can rely on our local supermarkets to deliver the staples of our feast.  

However, preparation for the holiday, even for supermarkets, doesn’t happen overnight. Manufacturers, retailers, couriers and supply chain managers begin preparations months ahead of November. Supply chain professionals especially, are hard at work managing goods, aligning cost flows, and forecasting supply and demand to get your food from farm to table. It’s supply chain in action! 

Here are three interesting ways supply chain impacts your Thanksgiving dinner. 

Supply Chain Manages Goods From Across the Country to Bring to Your Table 

Holiday bounty comes from all across the country to end up at your dinner table. For example, last year turkey was primarily produced in just five states. Minnesota alone raised 42 million turkeys for American families followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, and Missouri respectively. Sweet potatoes, another beloved holiday staple, is primarily produced in North Carolina. In fact, the state produces approximately sixty percent of all sweet potatoes grown in the country.

supply chain impacts on turkey production in 2018

Source: National Turkey Federation, Turkey Statistics, 2018

Producing goods is just half the battle for the holiday. Once goods have been collected, they need to be packed, distributed across buyers, and delivered. With food traveling all across the country, supply chain managers are tasked with making sure inventory is accounted for and delivered on time, minimizing operational delays, and managing the people, processes, and technology needed to ensure goods make it to supermarket shelves.  

Supply Chain Aligns Cost Flows that Translate to Savings for Customers and Profits for Suppliers and Stakeholders 

Another area where supply chain impacts your Thanksgiving meal is in your wallet. Supply chain managers work tri-fold to keep customers, suppliers, and stakeholders happy in this category. They are tasked with aligning cost flows and information to generate a profit margin for both suppliers and stakeholders, while ensuring that customers are satisfied with prices, as well.   

According to the Farm Bureau Survey, for the third year in a row, Americans are seeing the cost of Thanksgiving dinner go down. In part, this is thanks to ample supply and planning. Although popular staples like pumpkin and cranberry saw an increase in prices this year, other goods such as sweet potatoes, bread rolls, green peas, and the main dish, turkey, saw a decrease in cost. The low prices and ample stock translate to more savings and foods at the dinner table for families across the country.  

Supply Chain Moderates Supply and Demand Through Forecasting Models 

This past year, cranberries and pumpkin crops sustained a huge hit due to climate impact. Pumpkin, a product largely produced in states like North Carolina and Michigan, was affected by early droughts, major downpours, and even hurricanes. Cranberries on the other hand, experienced an overabundance of production in states like Massachusetts and Wisconsin due to unusually wet weather, in which cranberries thrive. 

Supply chain professionals create forecasting models to anticipate, and work to resolve these type of issues. Demand forecasts allow suppliers to anticipate needed product quantities, while supply and price forecasting collects data and information to paint a picture of how current trends and issues affect supply quantities and pricing. This type of work ensures that foods don’t run out at grocery stores, are sold at reasonable prices, and ultimately, that they meet the demand of customers. Because as any American will attest, it isn’t Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie!  

Thankful for Supply Chain 

Needless to say, Americans can thank supply chain professionals for the joy they bring to bellies across the country this year and every year.  

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Written by Olga Jimenez
MSCM Content Strategy Writer
[email protected]