This History of: Supply Chain

The History of: Manufacturing – Supply Chain

If you’re anything like me, you’ve likely heard the words and the phrase “supply chain” more this year than ever before. It seems everywhere you go or to everyone you talk to, “the supply chain” comes up in conversation in some way, shape, or form. Whether you’re familiar with it or not, check out this post from PMG, telling you what it is and why it’s important. Then, read on to learn all about the history of supply chains and supply chain management.

What Supply Chain Was

Prior to any of the industrial revolutions, supply chains were restricted to items available immediately and/or in close proximity to local regions or areas in which people were living. As a result, lifestyles were largely agricultural and worked with what the land could give. However, with each industrial revolution came a little more technology, a little more production, and a lot more transportation. These three things truly changed the way goods were produced and the ways in which goods were shared.

Where Supply Chain Went

Critical to the supply chain is transportation. Without transportation, we would continue to live and work in societies supported by items easily accessed. With transportation, it’s easier (and faster) to transport goods. Railroads were instrumental to the supply but it wasn’t until the invention of internal combustion engines and cars that we really saw major changes occur. It was at this time in the late 19th century, we saw the invention of the semi-truck and diesel engines for the transport of goods. We also saw progress on the handling of goods by building hand trucks and starting to think about concepts such as the forklift.

forklift in supply chain

As you can imagine, with the increase in the movement of goods (whether by rail or road), the product intended for a destination needed somewhere to go upon arrival. Therefore, we also saw upticks (and upgrades) in warehouses and storage buildings. With increased ability to store items, we also increased ability to handle items. Therefore, in the early 19th century, the forklift was finally invented, and we started using pallets to store items. Pallets, as simple as they seem, were incredibly important to the supply chain because they allowed product to be stored vertically, requiring less space and also allowing easier movement.

What Advanced Supply Chain

Technology changes a lot of things but so do major life events. During World War II, supply chain was absolutely critical. Troops overseas and abroad needed supplies but the question was, how do we get the supplies overseas as quickly as possible? This question is where supply chain (as we know it) truly begins and is the starting point for supply chain engineering, research, and management. As a result, we saw a lot of changes in supply chains including:

  • Pallet, pallet handling, and storage system inventions and development in the 1930s and 1940s
  • The invention of the shipping container and the logistics needed to transport it in the 1950s
  • The use of trucks rather than rail in the 1960s
  • IBM’s invention of a computerized inventory management system in 1967
  • The creation of a real-time WMS (warehouse management system) in 1975 in addition to barcodes and scanners
warehouse management system

But of course, as you know from the industrial revolutions, good is never good enough. It was the 1980s and 1990s that truly advanced supply chain for us. In fact, it was in 1983 that the term “Supply Chain Management” came to life. With the increase in technology, computer, spreadsheets, maps, networking, and overall distribution, supply chains were getting bigger and bigger. Imaginations were going wild with the idea of global supply chains.

Where Supply Chain Will Go Next

This is where we are at now. With increased manufacturing in countries outside of the US, there are now more suppliers of goods than ever before and from all areas of the world. To manage supply chains on a global level, we now heavily rely on artificial intelligence to perform analysis of supply chain operations so we can accurately forecast. This ultimately allows for better order management. With more data- and network-driven abilities such as real-time monitoring and any new technologies – we continue to produce in this Internet of Things (IoT) world. Supply chains and supply chain management will continue to change.

 

About the Author

Kim M

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

 

Love Your Freckles Day!

It’s Love Your Freckles Day – Monday, November 22nd

While you should love yourself in your entirety, no matter what, I know that’s not always the easiest thing to do.

As a pasty kid growing up in southwestern Minnesota 35+ years ago, I know one thing I struggled to love about me was what my mom always lovingly referred to as ‘angel kisses’. Argh! Had I been able to see those angels, I would have swatted at them with abandon to keep them away from me.

In a family of red heads, freckles were just part of the deal: the norm, ‘the us-us’ as my girls say, status quo. My sisters and I, we all had them and I’m pretty sure we all hated them. As I aged, the freckles on my face lightened and, in my teens, when I started wearing make-up, I was able to almost cover them completely.

Today, it’s my daughter that gets to deal with these annoying little spots that always seem to pop up in the most opportune spaces: the tip of her nose, the space between her nose & her mouth (a mustache of freckles dare I say), and the lids of her eyes.

Honestly, my feelings for freckles have definitely changed through the years. I adore them, especially my daughters, and wish mine hadn’t disappeared.

To all you lucky freckled-face wonders out there – embrace your face (and your shoulders, your knees and wherever else those freckles may land) and celebrate your beauty.

Happy Love Your Freckles Day!

 

About the Author

Beth B.

Beth Bangtson, Director of Human Resources

Halloween Candy

Manufacturing of Halloween Candy Outpacing Last Year’s Sales

Chocolate and Candy sales are soaring this Halloween season!

Excitement continues to grow as celebrations increase for this upcoming Halloween weekend!  82% of Americans say they plan to celebrate Halloween – including 93% of Millennial parents. Consumers are ready to celebrate and you can clearly see from this year’s candy!

Halloween candy 2021

 

THE LATEST HALLOWEEN CANDY SALES DATA 

TOTAL HALLOWEEN CANDY:

  • $324 million in retail sales (+48% vs. the same period in 2020; +59.8% vs. the same period in 2019)
  • Halloween-specific items per store increased 26.9% vs. the same period in 2020.

HALLOWEEN CHOCOLATE: $199 million sales (+55.5% vs. the same period in 2020; +70.3% vs. the same period in 2019)

HALLOWEEN NON-CHOCOLATE: $124 million (+31.1% vs. the same time period in 2020; +45.5% vs. the same time period in 2019)

 

ADDITIONAL FACTS:

  • 87% of people say they will purchase the same amount – or more – of Halloween candy this year. This is up from 80% in 2020.
  • 80% of Americans plan to trick-or-treat this year.
  • The National Confectioners Associationis the leading trade organization for the U.S. confectionery industry, which generates more than $37 billion in retail sales each year.
  • The industry employs nearly 58,000 workers in more than 1,600 manufacturing facilities across all 50 states.

 

About the Author

Ashley Grave, Pipeline Development Coordinator

 

 

Working During Retirement

Spice up your retirement!

A recent study showed that the average age to retire is 61 years old, and the average life expectancy is expected to grow. This is wonderful news! But what will you do for those years of your life? After the initial relaxation and leisure of retirement becomes boring, part time work might be the right answer!

Benefits of Working During Retirement:

  • Stay Young – Being social and making new connections has been shown to keep you all around healthy, both mentally and physically.
  • Pursue a Passion – It’s common that the work we do is not always for our enjoyment. When you retire, it is the perfect time to explore working part time with something new that you’re interested in.
  • Find Your Purpose – Look into working with a company or organization part time that will help you feel fulfilled and avoid any boredom that can come when retiring.
  • Increase Savings & Accumulated Interest – By working you may avoid taking money out of your savings and maybe even grow it. This will help you live comfortably for a long time.
  • Health Insurance – Most part time jobs will come with the benefits of Health Insurance. This will help retirees who are younger than 65 years of age.
  • Set Your Schedule – You get to decide how much you want to work. This is where PMG is a great option. We offer extended part time work (ranging from 3-6months). The flexibility allows you to take a job and then take as many months off as you want for leisure.

 

Come Find Your Purpose!

If you are interested in working with PMG, click the link to fill out a form and one of our recruiters will contact you!   Click Here to Fill Out Form

 

About the Author

Bailey Braccini

Bailey Braccini, Marketing Associate

Minnesota State Fair

The big Minnesota get together is almost here!

Here are 10 things you should put on your state fair list this year.

#1 Something on a stick

There are 60 food options that come on a stick and it is essential you try at least one. The Buckeye is a great option, located at the Spaghetti Eddie’s Stand on Cooper Street and Dan Patch Avenue!

#2 Look at the newborn animals

CHS Miracle of Birth Center showcases the new born animals and live births. It’s open from 9am to 9pm.

#3 Sweet Martha’s Cookies

Everyone knows that it’s practically impossible to go to the fair and not grab a bucket of Sweet Martha’s Cookies. This stand is a fan favorite at the fair.

#4 Be one with nature

Watch the beautiful butterflies at the Butterfly House and see if you can get one to land on your finger. It’s open from 8am to 10pm and is $3.50 per person.

#5 Eat a pronto pup

It would be a crime to not grab a pronto pup while you are at the fair. You can find these stands on almost every corner!

#6 Take a ride above the crowds

The Skyride has been around for almost as long as the fair. It’s a perfect activity to factor in to your day to give your legs a break from walking.

#7 New Food Alert: Jumbo Donut Sundae

Visit Fluffys Hand Cut Donuts stand to try this new item. Their stand is located Between West Dan Patch Avenue and Carnes Avenue as well as Liggett Street and Chambers Street.

#8 Attend a concert.

The Grand stand offers a variety of concerts every year. A few headliners this year include, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, and The Chainsmokers. Click here to purchase tickets.

#9 Specialty brews and beverages

The Minnesota State Fair announced 56 brand new beverages that will be available this year. These brews and cocktails are only found at the state fair. A few to look forward to: Aromatic Mike’s Hard Lemonade Slushy, Cotton Candy Hard Seltzer, Minnesota Mule Ale, and non-alcoholic Lake Storm Lemonade.

#10 Go down the giant slide

No one is ever too old to glide down this great attraction. Finish off your day at the fair with a joyride down the slide.

 

It is hard to know what to eat and what activities you should do because there are countless options! I hope that you get a chance to make it to a few of these this year. The fair begins on August 26 and goes through Labor Day. Tickets are only $13! Click here to purchase your state fair tickets.

 

Can’t get enough food on a stick at the state fair? Check out our Lunchbox Hack for some kabob tips, trick and recipes.

 

About the Author

Bailey Braccini

Bailey Braccini, Marketing Intern

International Lefthanders Day

International Lefthanders Day – Friday, August 13th

When I’m writing a piece for our blog, I often need to research to get a good understanding of the history behind the topic I’m writing about. For International Lefthanders Day (celebrated each year on August 13th), you get me and only me – no research required.

The Lefthanded vs Righthanded Debacle

I’ve been lefthanded since, well… since I wrapped my little fingers around the first object I grasped. Being the only lefthanded person in a family full of righthanded people, I can only imagine how my parents struggled to teach me things the lefthanded way:

  • I bat righthanded and throw a ball righthanded.
  • I never had to use a lefthanded scissors because I cut righthanded.
  • If I’m shooting a gun or doing archery, my right-eye dominance is strong (although it doesn’t seem to improve my shot).

But I’m lefthanded strong when it comes to writing, bowling, guitar playing, and sticking food in my mouth.

When my oldest daughter was born, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was when she picked up her first cereal puff with her chubby little left hand. I’d been alone in my lefthanded-ness for so long, it felt empowering to have birthed another lefty into this wonderful world dominated by righthanded people.

The Struggles Are Real

Even as I crawl my way into my fifth decade on this earth, it surprises me sometimes how hard it can be to be lefthanded; I’ve been working with this for a long time, you’d think I’d have it figured out by now!

Just this past weekend, when my youngest daughter decided it was finally time for me to learn how to French braid, it dawned on me during the how-to videos that I braid hair lefthanded, and the how-to videos are all made by righthanded people. Who knew?

The struggle is real folks, but I don’t expect your sympathy.

I love the challenge that us lefties have to work though. The smudge on our hand as we’re learning to write. The stadium seating in our college lecture halls with the foldout desks made for righthanded people. Even notebooks with the spiral on the left side of the notebook – it’s a real pain in the butt but I wouldn’t change a thing. I love that I’m a bit unique, one of less than 12% of the world’s population, and being lefthanded allows me an opportunity to bond with other lefthanded people over the simplest of things.

In celebration of me and my fellow lefthanders on our international day of recognition, may we raise a toast with our left hand and cheer to another incredible day of being special just the way we are.

 

About the Author

Beth B.

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

Appreciate Audiobooks

How I Started

Maybe it’s because I’m old, but up until about six years ago, the idea of an audiobook made my eyes roll. I’d never been a big reader. It wasn’t something I made time for nor something I remembered my parents doing when I was a child. When people mentioned they listen to an audiobook, I giggled to myself because I thought the idea of listening to a book seemed so elementary (triggering flashbacks to Mrs. Davis’ kindergarten class, circa 1985).

Then I found myself with an eye infection in both eyes that left me unable to read for almost four months. I couldn’t drive or be outside for the first month because of light sensitivity. I couldn’t even put toothpaste on my own toothbrush for goodness sake. There wasn’t a point in watching TV since all I saw was a bright white fog when my eyes were open, but I didn’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself all day. That’s when my husband contacted our local library and my world forever changed.

What Audiobooks I Listened to First

I spent that first month of blindness walking on a treadmill in our basement, listening to each of Jane Austen’s classics. Once I was able to, I moved my walks outside to my neighborhood where I devoured the Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and Charles Dickens. I’d never read the classics before and I was suddenly obsessed. I did eventually expand my audio library to include autobiographies, some great how-to books, cheesy romance novels, and even young-adult fiction, and my world just kept getting bigger and bigger.

Where I am Today

Six years later, my eyes are still a bit tricky. Therefore, I’m not opening a lot of books, but I am still listening to audiobooks each and every day. I listen when I’m getting ready for work in the morning and as I drive anywhere I need to go in the car. When I’m working out, I’m listening. If I can’t sleep at night, I sit and listen. I find audiobooks help me destress when I’m having a particularly stressful day. They allow me to escape to worlds beyond my own reach. I’m inspired to think about history, to focus on current events, and to challenge my own thoughts from time-to-time. They make me laugh, cry, and sometimes, giggle like a schoolgirl (you should see the looks I get at the gym ?).

If you’re missing the opportunity to take some time away from work this month, may I suggest getting a library card from your local library and investing your time and energy in a good audiobook. My library offers it as a free service, so I get the pleasure of ‘reading’ all these books without ever having to pay a dime! Sure, you may miss the smell of the old-fashioned, library book every once and awhile, but you won’t miss out on the adventure that can take you to anywhere you want to go!

Happy listening!

 

Need reading recommendations? Check out PMG’s Summer Reading List here!

About the Author

Beth B.

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

How It’s Made – Olympic Torch

Where it Originated

The Olympics. An event where athletes of all types gather together to prove who, among the best, is truly the best. The Olympics we know today are inspired by the ancient Olympic Games that were held every four years in Olympia, Greece. However,  the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held and governed the first official Olympics event in Athens in 1896. Since then, many changes have occurred including:

  • The Winter Olympics (holding ice hockey and figure skating events in the summer was a logistical nightmare).
  • The Paralympics (to promote the rehabilitation of soldiers after World War II).
  • The Youth Olympic Games.

Through it all though, one thing stands unchanged – The Olympic Flame.

Greek mythology considers fire and flame divine, representing the fire Prometheus stole from Zeus to give to humanity and influence civilization. This fire and flame is the same fire and flame incorporated into the Olympics since ancient times. It’s one of, if not THE, biggest symbols of the modern day Olympics. With that much fanfare and celebration over some flames, it’s important to acknowledge the torch that carries them. This article gives credit where credit is due.

How It’s Made – The Olympic Torch

Every Olympiad, experts design and craft the torch to represent the host country and that year’s Olympic theme. Aesthetics have changed a lot from past games but, for the most part, the torches are very much made the same year after year. The aluminum torch base has a small fuel tank inside, which releases pressurized fuel.

Torch Fuels

Torches were first fueled by gun powder, olive oil, or even a mixture of formaldehyde and ammonia. A dangerous mixture of aluminum and magnesium was once used too, dropping from the final torch and seared the runner’s arm. This event among other safety concerns changed the way designers thought about the torch.

As a result, Olympic torches have been using liquidized fuel since 1972. This fuel moves through a valve with thousands of tiny openings, dropping the pressure of the liquid.

When this happens, it turns the liquid into gas and it lights the flame. The flame stays lit through a continuous supply of  liquid fluid through the valve at a consistent rate. With this constant supply, the flame stays lit and torch carriers can “kiss” the flame to other torch carriers.

Other fuels used include propylene in the 1996 Olympics and a mixture of propane and butane (2000).

Depending upon the elements the torch will encounter on its journey, other mechanisms  include two-flame configuration- flares and various other aerodynamic design features.

Torch Timeline

It all sounds pretty simple but, in reality, it can take as long as two years to design and build a torch. Then, the torch goes through extensive testing to ensure it stays lit during its entire journey through wind, sleet, rain, snow, and/or sun. Soon after, approximately 15,000 more torches are made to fuel (pun intended) the very long Olympic Torch Relay.

If you’re interested in learning more about the relay, this History Channel write-up on the Olympic Torch relay’s surprising origins is a great source!

I’d also recommend you check out this article about 10 surprising Olympic facts as well as my other How It’s Made articles on PMG’s website.

 

About the Author

Kim M

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

 

 

National Aunt & Uncle Day

My nieces

Josh and nieces

People say it takes a village to raise a child. We’ve all heard that phrase before and National Aunt and Uncle’s Day is a great time to think about what it truly means.

Celebrated every year on July 26, this unofficial holiday has been around for quite a while. Its origins and history though are literally impossible to determine. Even in today’s easy-to-research, internet age there aren’t many details to be found. There’s not much information regarding how to observe the day either. Most sites just suggest a visit or call to spend some quality time together. However, I’d like to make my own suggestion as to how you can celebrate the often-unsung supporting actors in your family – tell their story. Here’s mine.

The Early Years

I was raised in a village. Now we have a couple thousand residents but, four decades ago, it was only a couple hundred people. It was small, so small in fact, that there wasn’t even daycare available for me as an infant. Not to worry though because I have uncles. They helped my grandma, around their regular jobs, start a daycare. Their sacrifices allowed her to care for me (and a generation of other country kids as well). Today, I know well over 50 fully grown men and women that still call them uncle too!

My Aunts

My maternal grandparents raised their own niece, in their home, because of addiction issues present in hers. She’s technically my cousin, but for almost 40 years, I’ve called her my aunt. She taught me how to use a globe, dominate at Scrabble, and appreciate a good book. Every single nursery rhyme I sing to my own nieces today can be credited to her as well. Another aunt made sure I got on the bus every morning throughout elementary and middle school. She taught me you don’t have to be a football expert to love the Vikings. She also bought me my first suit when I finally decided to pursue a career path that no longer required wearing a Hi-Vis shirt to work. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be writing this article today if it weren’t for that suit!

My Uncles

My oldest uncle and youngest niece, learning things together

uncle and niece

I learned all about construction from my mom’s oldest brother. Her youngest is one of my greatest agricultural influences. And her middle brother taught me that there’s still a place in the trades for an artistic eye. Not always gentle, but ever kind, I never learned an unnecessary lesson from any of them. They are some of my best friends, greatest allies, and the ones that still get the tough questions first from me.

Next Generations

My aunts and uncles taught me to farm, hunt and fish. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to braid my own girls’ hair, frame a house, finish concrete, weld, operate a lathe, drive a stick, or a host of other things. They showed me how to work tirelessly, try unashamedly, and love unconditionally. It’s undebatable to say I would not be the man, or uncle, I am today without them.

That’s important too because, 12 years ago, my oldest niece was born into a situation that required more from me than the “typical” uncle. Two years later, her sister arrived. Life didn’t prepare me to raise girls, that’s for sure. It did prepare me to raise people though. Mostly because my own aunts and uncles were a major part of that preparation. I wish the lessons I’m passing along from them today serve my girls just as well in their own lives tomorrow. I’m pretty sure they will.

I hope you read this and take the time to reach out to your own aunts and uncles today. Tell them what you remember, what you can’t forget, what you appreciate; tell them anything you want, but make sure you tell them thank you. Then share their story too.

 

About the Author

Josh E

Josh Erickson, ReTool Public Relations & Engagement Specialist

 

National Tattoo Day

In honor of National Tattoo Day on July 17th, I thought I’d share some history with you rather than suggest you run out and get a tattoo commemorating a potentially made-up holiday. ?

History would have it that tattoos were originally introduced as a pain management or therapeutic technique and were a safeguard for women during pregnancy and child birth. More recent discoveries have shown tattoos randomly distributed on body parts that corresponded with areas of strain-induced degeneration, implying tattoos were applied to alleviate joint pain.

According to Greek writer Herodotus c. 450 B.C., amongst certain people, “tattoos were a mark of nobility and not to have them was a testimony of low birth,” that is until Christianity emerged and tattoos were banned because they tarnished one of God’s creations.

If I think back 35 years to my early childhood, tattoos were rare. My Uncle Kevin had a couple on his forearms but he always seemed like a bit of a rebel to me, so that made sense. Other than him, I’d only seen tattoos on sailors in the movies or in Popeye cartoons (and considering he was a sailorman, I guess that makes sense too).

Today, tattoos are everywhere and you’ll find them on teenagers, middle-aged business men and women, even grandmas and grandpas. I asked some of PMG’s employees recently to share the story behind their tattoos and there were three common themes:

  • I’m old enough to get a tattoo so I’m getting one (happy 18th birthday to me)
  • In honor or in remembrance on someone or something special
  • “I’ve been through a tough journey and I’m going to commemorate the stronger person I’ve become on the other side of that journey!”

My own tattoos fall into two of these categories!

  • A week after my 18th birthday, I went with a friend to a tattoo shop (with my parents’ approval I should add) with a page ripped out of a coloring book and got myself the cutest little snowflake tattoo in honor of my love of Minnesota and all things winter.
  • After the birth of my first child and while on vacation with family, we each got a tattoo – three autumn leaves for me, representing my love of all things fall and each member of our young family at the time.

Two years ago, my husband got me a gift card for my next tattoo and that baby has been burning a hole in my wallet since. Knowing what I want to put on my body and where is such a personal decision, and not one to take lightly I’ll figure it out one day (thank goodness gift cards don’t expire)!

In the unlikeliness this article has inspired you to get some ink, how incredibly cool is that (words are power). If it peaked your interest and you want to know more about the beginnings of tattoos from over 5,000 years ago, take a peek at this article from Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/tattoos-144038580/

Whatever you do next, put some thought behind it. Know there’s no going back, no pressure, and love your ink with all your heart; it represents a little piece of who you are at that moment in time.

 

About the Author

Beth B.

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager