Skip To The Main Content

Unique Logistics, Sweet Deliveries

ASCM CEO

Friday April 26, 2019


Most of us cringe when vendors show up at our front steps. We crack open the door begrudgingly or even pretend we aren’t home. However, those of us in the United States are eagerly awaiting the sound of the doorbell these days. It’s that wonderful time of year when door-to-door salespeople become welcome guests: Girl Scout cookie season.

Girl Scout cookies got their start in the home kitchens of a handful of scouts back in 1917. Just a few years later, the official Girl Scouts magazine published a recipe for a basic sugar cookie. Its author estimated the cost of ingredients for six dozen cookies to be 26-36 cents and suggested troops sell a single dozen for 25-30 cents. Enthusiasm for the confection grew quickly, and by 1937, 125 councils were holding sales.

Today’s numbers are a bit more impressive:

  • The Girl Scout Cookie program is the largest girl-led business in the world.
  • Thin Mints are the most popular variety, with 50 million boxes sold each year, followed by Samoas and Tagalongs. (I’m a Trefoil man, myself.)
  • And nearly $800 million worth of cookies are sold each season — or 200 million boxes.

“That means a logistical push to deliver 200 million boxes of cookies across the country in four months managed by moms, dads and little girls,” writes Jennifer Smith in The Wall Street Journal. “In the cookie sale’s final weeks, scout leaders and parents hustling to move product are flying suitcases of cookies across Alaska and orchestrating cross-state handoffs outside Yellowstone National Park.”

She goes on to explain that, although cookies ordered through the more modern “Digital Cookie platform” can be shipped through the mail, 95% are still sold and delivered in person.

Sue Wilkins, a cookie-logistics volunteer from South San Jose, California, told the Journal: “When my first [delivery] comes … I have 10 full pallets in my garage. A semi comes and takes up the whole side of the street.”

Another volunteer in Fort Wayne equipped a 1,500-square-foot office with concrete flooring and a receiving dock to be able to accept shipments. The council there serves areas in both Indiana and Michigan, distributing about 5,000 boxes each day of cookie season.

Deliver

Just like those dedicated Girl Scout volunteers, skilled logistics, transportation and distribution professionals enable their supply chains to delight customers. The Deliver learning path at ASCM 2019, September 16-18 in Las Vegas, explores key delivery-related topics, including warehousing and finished inventories; scheduling, pick, pack, shipment and invoicing; and import and export tactics. Educational sessions on this learning path will feature last-mile emerging tech, global logistics outsourcing, dangerous goods and hazardous materials in the supply chain, and much more.

I invite you to register today and enjoy a $700 savings on three information-packed days of supply chain education, facility tours and networking. With a forward-thinking, dynamic lineup of supply chain business leaders and innovators, ASCM 2019 is sure to elevate your career and organization.