Zao shang hao  (Good Morning; at least it is for me right now.)

While I may work in tech and have been on the cutting edge of some new stuff, sometimes I’m just amused / amazed by it all. Even after reading the last issue of Inbound Logistics Magazine and how institutionalized all this has become, the speed and operational capabilities that exist today are still somewhat mind-boggling. As much as we collectively groan about this or that not working the way it’s supposed to, the fact is a great many things do work well.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just easily impressed. But I happened to check on a recent email to my customer service email box, (that I use for ordering stuff), to re-check an alert from Apple regarding an order for my iPad cover. Here’s where a link from that email took me…

All the way from China. OK, it took a few days. But I didn’t pay much for shipping. I’m used to seeing stuff get shipped from around the U.S. and maybe Canada, but all the way from China, just for an iPad case? Even the iPad I figured would have been coming from some distribution center somewhere. Maybe these things are actually coming from a Distribution Center. Chances are they’re consolidated at source and perhaps FedEx is handling some basic warehouse / distribution for Apple. If it was JUST my iPad and case in one of many boxes as a shipment in a big container of un-like things, that would seem odd to me. But in any case, for some reason this screen just struck me as funny. Several years ago the company I was working for was doing a lot of business in Shanghi. I started learning Mandarin in anticipation of going over and maybe doing some things over there with a product I had been creating. Sadly, that business didn’t work out. (Now I can maybe buy a ticket, find my hotel or a place to go to the bathroom in Mandarin, but not much else.) Maybe one day I’ll get to go to the place where my iPad and it’s case happily came from, fresh from the factory.

I’m not at all sure why I found this simple screen so fascinating. Enough so that I’d bothered to do one of my only ever so often blog posts to a blog hardly anyone reads. I think maybe my fascination is with the personal level of the global supply chain here. For TFE, (Twenty Foot Equivalent), containers and 3PL, (Third Party Logistics), services I get it. But I’ve always felt somewhat dissociated from it. (Or I never thought about it at all except for work.) But for just me personally and my little iPad and iPad Case order? I guess this one little screen made me, (one six billionth of the humans on the planet), feel a bit more personally connected to the whole global supply chain.