The common pencil is a great illustration about the supply chain.
The daily struggle of keeping things moving forward makes it difficult to take a step back and appreciate the wonder of business.
In 1958, Leonard Read published a short and elegant essay about a nondescript pencil.
"I, Pencil" is written in the first person from the point of view of the pencil.
The essay is famous for the claim that despite its apparent simplicity ”…not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.”
It further details how it literally requires the work of millions of people around the world to create this most common of all writing devices.
Check it out. It’s worth a few minutes of your time.