Monday Milestones #2 – Age 4 Introduction to Inventory

By Ron Williams July 12, 2021


Last week’s Monday Milestones featured the article , CodeLaunch DucieClub, and it mentioned how since the age of 4 I have been fascinated by inventory.  Our youngest (pictured above) was introduced much earlier than I was.  Now, a bit more to that moment in time, 40 years ago.

My father, who retired from Church’s Chicken after 42 years, worked at varying levels of store management, and ultimately being a Franchisee, managed a store in Austin, TX that had an outside stockroom.  One day my mom took my brother and myself to visit him at the store, and during that visit he showed me that stockroom.  What no one knew at the time, which is still a fresh memory for me, was that, this was the day my intellectual curiosity about inventory was born.  In essence it was the day the “LeBron James” of the supply chain got his 1st basketball.  Again read the article, CodeLaunch DucieClub , to learn more about the  LeBron James of the supply chain, and how inventory has long been a key component in my family’s business back then, now, and in the future.

Didn’t take many brutal Texas summers, one to be exact, to figure out going back and forth between the store and the outside stockroom wasn’t how anyone should spend their summers.  My 4 year old self kept asking why was this even necessary, and can’t we just use everything we have today, and get the right amount we need for tomorrow when the 1st customer arrives?  Little did I know that at age 4 I had innately grasped  the concepts of just in case and just in time inventory schools of thought.

As I got older and saw more stores, I just marveled over just the sheer amount of products and supplies a store goes through and keeps in inventory there on site.  Then during a district meeting I went with my dad to, would forever change that idea.  The location of it struck me a bit odd because it was at a storage facility.  As odd as it seemed I was glad it wasn’t in one of the stockrooms.  This was the day I learned about off site storage facilities of excess and obsolete inventory/supplies.  This blew my mind off its hinges of what I had always assumed.  Which was, whatever a store needed was there on site.

I’ve spent about 25 years working at various big box retailers, nation’s largest industrial distribution companies, and obviously the restaurant supply industry putting the pieces together of why and how this inventory gets lost in the system.  2009 until present was just proving that this “black hole” of inventory exists across every industry we could think of.

Just as inventory at my dad’s business had a significant influence on my life, what we do has had it on our children’s lives as well.  They’ve been helping us push out, identify, and catalog excess inventory from produce to toys for over a decade now.   This LeBron James can say he has had the great fortune and pleasure to play ball at a high level with his sons before they even started Kindergarten.