The Baby Supply Chain!

Baby Supply Chain

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We have a newborn Grandson!  A beautiful baby boy!

Aside from being a parent there is no better feeling than being a Grandparent!

A whole new world of joy and responsibility has begun for my son and his girlfriend.  It is such an exciting time but their routine will be completely turned upside down as new parents.

They will have to figure out so many things that they never had to deal with before.  Parents immediately  have to care for their child in every way.

They have also just entered the world of the Baby Supply Chain!

Actually their journey into the Baby Supply Chain began long before the birth of their child, our Grandson.  They told my wife and I that they were expecting shortly after they found out.

Immediately their brains were in gear and thinking and planning for what was in store.

They had to undergo the necessary medical tests and ultrasounds to check on the health of the baby.  This involves a set of logistics in and of itself in terms of going to the doctor, having the tests done, sending the tests to a lab, and having the results returned.

Baby Food

I expect that they will start with breast feeding but thereafter they will likely be launched into the world of baby foods.

If they were bottle feeding they would now need to get bottles, brushes, cleaning tools and many other items.

They could decide to make their own baby food in which case they will need to research for appropriate, nutritional recipes and get the appropriate ingredients.  For some parents they will also make a distinction by using organic foods.

Alternatively they can go to the grocery store and select from dozens of different brands and types of commercial baby food products.  The choices will likely be overwhelming but they will find that there baby will likely prefer some flavours and dislike others, which will in turn inform their buying choices.

Over time they will get a sense of what the baby’s consumption of food is (ie. demand) and they will then plan to have an appropriate amount of that food on hand, or available (ie. supply) to meet their needs.

They will be able to order any foods they need online, requesting same day delivery if their need is urgent, or they will need to plan their shopping schedules (ie. deliveries).

On top of this the parents will also work to get on a feeding schedule (though baby may have other ideas).  Over time they will try to time when baby is fed as they work to get the baby on a regular sleeping schedule.    Logistics comes into play in the Baby Supply Chain.

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Diapers

Diapers also involve a supply chain decision.  Do you choose to use reusable diapers or disposable diapers?

They decided early on that they were going to predominantly use reusable, cloth diapers.  They selected a cloth diaper service provider.  The supplier will ensure a steady, uninterrupted supply of fresh diapers and take the responsibility for cleaning and recycling the used diapers.  Reverse logistics in action.

They will also supplement that with a smaller supply of disposable diapers for situations in which they are travelling or away from home.  The number of disposable diaper brands and choices is also large.  And like so many things today they can also be ordered online and delivered when needed.

Furniture Essentials

As they have been planning for the baby they have had to acquire many of the items they will need to care for the baby.  As in everything else there is no shortage of choices.

Choosing any products they want can be done online or in store.  Specialty stores (online or brick and mortar) and General stores (also online or brick and mortar) are available.  They had to do research on the different products, compare brands and item specifications, compare pricing, look at product reviews, check out safety levels, and more.

In essence they needed to go through this process for a change table, crib, car seat, bouncy chair, baby monitor, dresser, mattress, and stroller.

Clothing and Supplies

As with most everything else there is no shortage of choices.  Specialty stores or Department stores, online or in store, hundreds of brands, thousands of designs, and numerous sizes make this an overwhelming area.

On top of that everyone, family and friends, want to buy stuff for the baby.  There is no shortage of supply here but the risk of oversaturation (ie. supply of clothes far in excess of the ability of the baby to where all of these clothes), along with the rapid growth rate of a baby, is likely to mean that there are a lot of clothes that either been never used or rarely used.  As such it is common that these clothes are passed on to other parents of newborns, whether people you know or to charities such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  The Supply Chain in action.

A growing area of interest here is organic baby clothing.  With the use of organic cotton these clothes avoid the use of chemicals or synthetic fibres.  A new product line focused on the baby’s comfort as well environmental sensibilities will have appeal to many consumers.

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Aside from clothing there are also considerations for the various creams, lotions and other products that go along with raising a baby.  Are they organic and natural?  Are they readily available and affordable?  Supply is usually not a problem but the wide variety of choices make selection a personal experience.

Toys

Let’s not forget Toys!

Much as with everything else with babies there are innumerable choices.  Brands, Products, Products by Age, Electronic or Mechanical, Educational or Entertainment, and Materials (eg. plastics, wood) result in an endless array of toy and book products.

Like all baby related items they can also be supplied online or in store and picked up or delivered.  There is such a range of options that people can select the price points that work for them.

As baby grows out of their toys there is the opportunity to reuse and recycle some of these products, assuming they have not been irreversibly damaged or stained.  It may be as simple as passing toys on to someone you know, or reselling them online.

Just like in the Toy Story movies, toys just want to be played with and when they are outgrown there is often another child in need of those same toys.

Baby Product Companies

All of the companies that supply all of these products, the clothes, toys, foods and other products that your baby needs, have their own extended Supply Chains that are executed in the background.

Product design, market research, supplier selection, product testing and qualification, supply and demand planning, distribution, logistics, transportation, and reverse logistics are all Supply Chain functions.

Millions of people work in the Supply Chain every day to bring you the products and services you need to help you raise your baby.

The Baby Supply Chain in Conclusion

My wife and I are excited beyond description to welcome our new Grandson into the world.  We will do anything we can to help him, and his parents, now and in the future.

And we congratulate everyone else who has a newborn child, grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin, brother or sister.

As we’ve sought to describe here, there is an enormous Supply Chain that  surrounds a newborn baby.  We typically don’t think of it that way but the reality is that the effective execution of the Supply Chain is essential to help you raise your child.

Originally published on October 30, 2018.

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