Bigger Trainwreck - Amy Schumer or Your Company?

Is Your Company A Bigger Trainwreck Than Amy in Trainwreck?

Supply Chain Trains?. Getty Images

For much of the R-rated triumph, Trainwreck’s hero “Amy” does her best to sabotage her success – whether that success is defined as committing to a boyfriend or connecting with her sister’s family or just navigating her way home from Staten Island in skimpy sling-backs and a gold foil miniskirt.  Comedic goddess Amy Schumer wrote, produced and stars in the Judd Apatow-directed hit, in which LeBron James crushes a supporting role (in a way he never could in the NBA) and Matthew Broderick does “his best work since War Games” (according to Marv Albert).


If you’re one of the dozen or so North Americans who haven’t seen Trainwreck – you probably have your reasons.  But you really should check it out.  Listen, I’m a supply chain geek and suburban dad – so why should you pay attention to what I say about movies?  Even if those movies can teach you a thing or two about increasing your company’s revenue and profit margin….  Movies like, I don’t know, say The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Iron Man and The Dark Knight series, the Keanu/Swayze Point Break and all of these flicks that came out last year.

Watching Trainwreck, my wife and I laughed and cried and wondered which was more impressive - the cut of John Cena’s, uh, let’s call it his jib, or his comedic timing.  But by the end, was I the only one who saw Trainwreck for what it truly appeared to be?  A supply chain parable and cautionary tale! 

You see, in all Amy’s train-wrecked-ness, the one thing she was able to keep doing… was her job.

  As a magazine writer, her editor continually praised her stellar abilities and kept talking her up for THAT BIG promotion.  Ergo, even though her life was a Katrina-sized mess, she delivered her product on-time (her articles) and satisfied her customer (her editor).  Does that sound like your company?

  Are you getting products delivered to your customers, but without optimized processes – your costs are too high and not sustainable.  If so, (heads up – SPOILER ALERT) just like Amy, there’s time to control your supply chain, save Amar’e Stoudemire’s knee and win the charming doctor’s affection.  But to do that, you need to understand that life is, indeed, a metaphor for supply chain.

Customer Service – Amy’s hilarious, no-nonsense boss wants what she wants, when she wants it.  Just like your customers do.  You would never whine to your customers about your inability to deliver their product on-time.  And when Amy tries, she’s met with a litany of brilliantly-delivered lines (dropped like smart bombs by Tilda Swinton) like, “Is this your one-woman show?  Because I don’t have a ticket.”  Optimizing your supply chain means delivering your customers what they want…

On-Time Delivery – …when they want it.  If you’re not delivering your customers on-time, you’re likely leaving revenue on the table.  And you’re giving your customers a reason to start sourcing other suppliers.  Amy – in spite of the manic partying – manages to deliver her work on-time.  Even the article that’s central to the movie’s plot is produced, reworked and delivered.

  But when the costs of keeping Amy on the magazine’s approved supplier list (i.e. keeping her on staff) get too high, the magazine re-sources her services.  Oh, oops, another SPOILER ALERT there.  Consider this a blanket SPOILER ALERT for here on out.  Optimized supply chain – once again – is getting your customers what they want, when they want it, but…

Cost of Goods – …spending as little money as possible doing that.  If you’re selling a product to your customer for $10 and your cost of goods for that product is $5, you’re in pretty good shape.  But if you’re spending another $7 to expedite that same product through the manufacturing and delivery process, those indirect costs are going to force Tilda to fire you and give the promotion to Nikki.  Part of your job, supply chain manager, is to understand all the indirect costs associated with each step in your supply chain to make sure they’re not undermining your ability to sustain your company’s lifestyle (or financial goals).


Process Optimization – Creating a process-driven, optimized supply chain that manages costs and delivers customer satisfaction – that’s the supply chain pro’s mission.  Supplier sourcing, cost of goods management, inventory control and customer fulfillment – managing those disciplines will help protect your company’s margins, grow revenue and, if you’re committed, land you the sports doctor with the heart of gold.  Amy Schumer deserves an honorary supply chain certificate for her wonderfully accurate process optimization allegory.