By now, you all know about the Solar Eclipse and we’re sure you’re just as excited to witness the celestial movement as we are. It seems that social media, local governments, and many businesses have talked about nothing else for the past month. Indeed, it will be a sight to behold. But, did you know that this event means more than just eclipse glasses and darkness at lunchtime?
In fact, the solar eclipse has meant big money for local businesses, corporate markets, and start-up entrepreneurs alike. Towns along the “path of totality”, areas where a total solar eclipse will be visible for a mere 2 minutes, have already projected huge impacts on their local economy on August 21st. The town of Columbia, SC are expecting an overwhelming $50 million in revenue from activities related to the eclipse. The small town of Salem, Oregon, which has never been seen as a tourist trap, is now expected to earn $1 million the night of the eclipse. This eclipse is the first since 1918 to span the entirety of the United States, so it’s easy to imagine the financial impact that this event will induce after just looking at two cities along its path.
And let’s not forget about those eclipse glasses that we have seen countless ads for. Admittedly, in hopes of turning the eclipse into a fun company event, I even tried to buy a pack of the solar glasses early last week… I searched online vendors in hopes that I was not too late to find that specialized cardboard and plastic apparel. To my dismay, it seemed that all of the vendors indicated that they had sold out, and a few vendors from overseas stated that they would not be able to ship solar glasses to the United States in time for the Eclipse. Unfortunately, no one at Easley will be able to stare into the sun on August 21st. However, this got me thinking about the impact the event has on the supply chain.
The supply chain is aptly named because if one link is not connected properly or if one link malfunctions, the chain no longer holds. The supply chain is connected as follows: Raw materials supplier –> Manufacturers –> Distributors –> Retailers –> Customer. In the example of eclipse glasses, the cardboard and plastic is sent to the people who make the glasses. Then, the glasses get sent out on trains, planes, boats, and trucks to the businesses that sell these glasses, like Walmart, Kroger, Lowes, and Amazon. Finally, (if you didn’t procrastinate like me) you buy the glasses from your retailer of choice and prepare for the eclipse. The fact that this event is going to have such a huge impact on local economies is a huge testament to the work put in by the supply chain. With little more than a few months notice it would seem, the supply chain successfully equipped millions of Americans with an item that
The fact that this event is going to have such a huge impact on local economies is a huge testament to the work put in by the supply chain. With little more than a few months notice it would seem, the supply chain successfully equipped millions of Americans with an item that was produced for a one-time event (in which that item loses its purpose after the event). This is an incredible feat that would not be possible without the network of companies that helped make this happen.
So, as you are preparing to witness one of the most noteworthy natural events since 1918, think about the great effort that went into getting those wacky looking glasses to you. As the moon shows up and shows out on Monday, from its normal location in the background, think about how the supply chain showed up and showed out for you this month.