Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is one of my favorite books. The first third of the book is about how people succeed, despite incredible odds. The other two-thirds are about how society crumbles without its greatest minds.
Did you know that inventory management plays a big role in Atlas Shrugged? Read on to find out how. By the way, this blog post is full of potential spoilers, so proceed with caution.
Successful Inventory Management
In the first part of the book, Hank Rearden, a brilliant steel manufacturer, comes up with his miraculous Rearden Metal, which is lighter, cheaper and more durable than steel. It’s such a good product that other businesspeople are concerned.
Dagny Taggart, the leader who gets things done at Taggart Transcontinental Railroad, decides to use Rearden Metal in a desperate attempt to get a railroad line complete before a nearly impossible deadline. Rearden can barely keep up with the orders for his metal, but both Rearden and Taggart manage to do the impossible and get the railroad completed on time. It’s an exhilarating triumph.
In Atlas Shrugged, the country’s economy depends upon its railroads. Without railroads, goods and materials can’t be delivered where they’re needed. The challenge of building a railroad, in and of itself, is enormous.
Rearden had to increase his steel plant’s efficiency to meet demand. Taggart had to organize materials and employees to make sure her rail project got done.
Back in 1957, when Atlas Shrugged was first published, inventory management had to be done by hand. Thankfully, things have changed in the past few decades. Many organizations now use business inventory management software to boost efficiency and organize materials.
Businesses can also use inventory management software to manage their suppliers, whether they get supplies shipped to them via train, plane, boat or truck. This is especially important so they don’t run out of products when they need them most.
If Atlas Shrugged had been written today, maybe the famous rhetorical question it poses (“Who is John Galt?”) would have been, “Who manages John Galt’s inventory?”