Similarities between Manufacturing Supply Chain and the Human Body

Jul 1, 2024 | Blog

Robotics and Automation Integration

What? Come on now… How can an efficient manufacturing supply chain be similar to a healthy human body? They got nothing to do with each other? One is a living organism…and one is…well…an industrial process. Actually, the count is endless. A well oiled industrial supply chain process and the human body share many similarities that are both effective and efficient  Below is a list of six major comparisons:

Central Nervous System and Supply Chain Tower

    • Body: The central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, cerebellum, etc) coordinates all activities in the body, sending signals to various parts to ensure they function harmoniously
    • Supply Chain: A supply chain tower provides centralized monitoring and control of the entire supply chain, ensuring coordination between different processes and departments. A tower can also be thought of as a WMS or other SCE platform.

Circulatory Systems and Material Flow

    • Body: The circulatory system transports oxygen, nutrients and waste products to and from cells, maintaining homeostasis
    • Supply Chain: Efficient material flow ensures that raw materials, components and finished products move smoothly through the supply chain meeting production needs and customer demand while minimizing waste.

    Digestive System and Resource Planning

      • Body: The digestive system breaks down food into nutrients that the body can use for energy, growth and repair.
      • Supply Chain: Resource processing involves converting raw materials into finished goods through manufacturing processes, ensuring that inputs are transformed efficiently into valuable outputs.

    Immune System and Risk Management

      • Body: The immune system protects the body against infections and diseases, identifying and neutralizing threats.
      • Supply Chain: Risk management systems identify potential risks and disruptions in the supply chain, implementing measures to mitigate these threats and maintain continuity.

    Muscular System and Logistics / Distribution

      • Body: The muscular system enables movement and physical activities, allowing the body to respond to external stimuli.
      • Supply Chain: Logistics and distribution systems manage the movement of goods, ensuring timely and efficient delivery to various points in the supply chain and end customer. Another way to look at this is labor / people are the muscle that moves goods.

      Respiratory System and Information Flow

        • Body: The respiratory system facilitates the exchange of gasses (oxygen, carbon dioxide) which is crucial for cellular respiration and energy production.
        • Supply Chain: Efficient information flow ensures that data is exchanged accurately and promptly across the supply chain, enabling informed decision-making and responsive actions.

        OK…well, I guess there can be a case on how running a supply chain in a manufacturing environment is similar to a human body. Flows, special organs / systems, understanding threats, centralized control, etc, etc are all similar.  There is also a heavy case in taking care of your body and supply chain.  Going in for yearly check-ups, updating systems, checking blood and running systems checks are similar.

        Jeff Constable Tryon Solutions

        Written By Jeff Constable

        As a seasoned sales leader, Jeff Constable has a proven track record of driving revenue growth and building high-performing teams in the supply chain industry. For further information, please email

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