Supply Chain Now Episode 452

“Years later above Sam Walton’s desk at Walmart headquarters, you could find a JC Penney quote [above his desk] that read, “Serve the public to its ultimate satisfaction.”

-Scott Luton, Host, This Week in Business History

The ‘This Week in Business History’ Series on Supply Chain Now shares some of the most relevant business and global supply chain events from years past. It will shine a light on some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and even lessons learned from our collective business history.  This week focuses on JC Penney, Karsten Solheim, and more.

Scott Luton (00:12):

Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on this edition of this week in business history. Welcome to today’s show on this program, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming. We take a look back at the upcoming week, and then we share some of the most relevant events and milestones from years past, of course, mostly business focused with a little dab global supply chain. And occasionally we might just throw in a good story outside of our primary realm. So I invite you to join me on this. Look back in history to identify some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and perhaps lessons learned in our collective business journey. Now let’s dive in to this week in business history.

Scott Luton (01:13):

Hello, and thanks for joining us. I’m your host Scott Luton. And today on this edition of this week in business history, we are focused on the week of September 14th. In today’s episode, we’ve got a little bit of the Baskin Robbins approach going as we’re going to be sharing a variety of historical occurrences from across the business world golf, half finance, higher education, retail emoticons, and the Supreme court. How about that for the spice of life? That is variety. Thank you for joining us here today. On this week in business history, powered by our team here at supply chain. Now let’s start with retail on September 16th, 1875, James Cash Penney was born on a farm near Hamilton, Missouri. He had 11 brothers and sisters and one very strict father. In fact, it’s been reported that beyond maintaining stringent discipline in the household, James Cash Penney senior would make his children pay for their own clothing.

Scott Luton (02:17):

The need for a good bargain would perhaps stick with James Cash Penney jr. For the rest of his life. Penny initially wanted to be an attorney and practice law, but fate would intervene. Unfortunately, the penny family would lose their patriarch in an untimely fashion. Thus, all of the siblings had to find ways to help out for James Cash. Penney. This meant taking a job as a store clerk to help the family make ends meet Penny’s own health problems would force him to make a move. As his doctor suggested that he moved West and live in a drier climate. So first up that meant Longmont, Colorado, where he opened a butcher shop, which eventually failed next up he’d become a store clerk again and eventually find himself in Evanston, Wyoming. The store was part of a small chain called the golden rule store, a dry goods store that sold a wide variety of stuff.

Scott Luton (03:12):

Everyone’s familiar with the golden rule, right? It centers on treating others as you would like to be treated. It’s been around for thousands of years in some form or fashion in every part of the world. And the golden rule store would treat James Cash Penney quite well in 1902, the owners would make him a one-third partner of a new store in Kemmerer Wyoming. This store due to Penny’s leadership and hard work along with local market conditions would do well. The store would do really well. And penny was certainly the ambitious type. Just five years after being named a partner, he bought out all the other partners and shortly thereafter, the golden rule store, which had grown to over 30 locations would be renamed. Yup. You guessed it. The JC penny company, the company continued to flourish largely due to several of Penny’s key management principles, such as one find talented people to train them.

Scott Luton (04:11):

Well, three sell quality goods for keep prices low by managing small markups. The number of stores reached 1400 by 1929, but the great depression and some of Penny’s investment decisions would be devastating. The JC penny stores did okay, but his personal wealth was largely wiped out, but JC Penney would endure and rebound successfully in a how bout that moment? JC Penney would meet a young Sam Walton at a JC penny store in Des Moines, Iowa. In fact, it’s been reported that penny trained Walton, how to wrap a package to minimize materials. Sam Walton evidently thought very highly of JC penny and years later above Sam Walton’s desk at Walmart headquarters, you could find a J C Penney quote that read quote, serve the public to its ultimate satisfaction. In quote, JC penny would remain chairman of the board until 1946 and then would serve as honorary chairman until his death in 1971.

Scott Luton (05:16):

As many know that JC penny company has fallen on hard times like so many other retail companies in 2020 in may of this year, the company filed for bankruptcy in July, 2020. The company led by CEO, Jill salt owl announced a major restructuring closing some 150 locations and eliminating some 1000 jobs amongst other moves. Sole Tao is the first female CEO in JC Penney company’s history with extensive leadership experience at companies such as Sears, Coles, and Joanne fabrics. Soul Tao is making some big changes to the organization in its comeback attempt, reducing inventory levels, cutting costs, introducing new merchandise. And of course overseeing the financial restructuring we’ll revisit in the months ahead to see at the JC penny company can rebound as successfully as its namesake. Alright, so let’s take a break from retail and let’s play some golf on September 15th, 1911, Carsten Solheim was born in Bergen Norway.

Scott Luton (06:23):

His family immigrated to the U S in 1913. They made their home in Seattle, Washington, Carson Solheim Himes father Herman maker to help the family make ends meet during the great depression. Carson Solheim would withdraw from the university of Washington and work in the family shoe shop. The experience Solheim would garner in working with his hands to make things well that would pay off handsomely down the road. Carson Solheim wanted to be an engineer and did just that. And in 1953, he would join general electric as a mechanical engineer, and he made his Mark Solheim would help the company’s engineering team designed the rabbit ears antenna that GEs first portable televisions would use at age 42 Solheim would find the sport golf and absolutely fall in love with it. It would consume him. It would also make him very wealthy. Soham worked to become quite good at the game of golf, but he was frustrated with plateauing a bit at a five handicap.

Scott Luton (07:25):

So to give a five handicap, a bit of context, keep in mind that a zero handicap in golf, Kate’s a scratch golfer. Someone that you certainly would never want to bet against on the Lynx Karsten Solheim was really frustrated with this. Putting the putters of the day in the mid fifties, drew his iron. So as any true engineer would do, Solheim set out to design and build his own putter. His first conceptual prototype will be fashioned out of a couple of Popsicle sticks and sugar cubes Solheim would build putter in his garage in Redwood city Califor based on that concept. And when it struck a golf ball, it made a distinctive pain, a trade name was born, Seoul, Himes, putters, and clubs would all bear the name Payne, but Karsten still wanted a name for his putter. His wife Louise came up with the answer.

Scott Luton (08:19):

Literally. She just did that since it was the answer to his pudding woes that day, it should be called answer. Carson would remove the w from the word so that it could fit and be trademarked on the back of a putter. Thus was born the ping answer, putter, which is still highly popular in the game today in 1959, Carson Solheim would leave GE and found his own company. The Karsten manufacturing company by 1969, the company would introduce full sets of golf clubs that utilize the innovative perimeter weighting that Solheim had developed the company flourished from there. And you’re going to find ping equipment utilized throughout the golf industry from the world’s greatest golfers to amateurs everywhere in the 1980s. After watching the Ryder cup gain in popularity, Karsten Solheim would have one other big idea why not create a Ryder cup for female competitors in five months, Tom, with soul Hommes energy leadership and financial backing, the Solheim cup was born in 1990.

Scott Luton (09:26):

The first ever Solheim cup was played at Lake Nona golf and country club in Florida. And the United States team would defeat the European team handling the 2021 Solheim cup will be played at Inverness club in Toledo, Ohio in his slated run from August 31st to September 6th, 2021 for all of his innovations and contributions to the game of golf. Carson Solheim would be inducted into the world golf hall of fame in 2001, just months after he passed away at the age of 88 Carson Solheim changed the game for the better, in so many ways. Now you may never look at a ping putter the same way. Again, a few other items to note on this week in business history for the week of September 14th on September 19th, 1881, the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama would hold his first classes. Booker T Washington was then the school’s only teacher. Washington was an educator author or writer and advisor to many U S presidents.

Scott Luton (10:33):

He would serve as the head of the Tuskegee Institute until his death in 1915, during Washington’s leadership, the school’s enrollment would grow to more than 1500 students and would accumulate an endowment of more than $2 million Tuskegee university, as it has become today has more than 3000 students. It was the first black college to be designated as a registered national historic landmark, which took place in 1966. It is the only black college to be designated a national historic site, which took place in 1974 on September 20th, 1973, Billy Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the infamous battle. The sexes tennis match King would win in three sets and would take home the a hundred thousand dollars prize. And the game was viewed by an estimated 50 million people in the U S and some 90 million worldwide. For context, the super bowl in 1973 only gained 67 million viewers on September 19th, 1982, Scott Fahlman. Then a member of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon university would be credited with being the first to devise and use the smiley emoticon.

Scott Luton (11:49):

He said at the time that it helped people only electronic message board determined, serious posts from jokes. Obviously Fahlman started kind of a big deal, emojis and emoticons, helping people find their funny bone since 1982. And finally on September 15th, 2008 in what is still the largest bankruptcy filing in us history, Lehmann brothers would declare bankruptcy. The 170 year old firm held over $600 billion in assets. At the time, the move triggered a one day drop in the Dow Jones of 4.5%, which at the time was the largest decline since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 that wraps up this edition of this week in business history. Those were some of the stories that stood out to us. But what do you think, what stands out to you? Tell us, shoot us a note to Amanda at supply chain. Now or join our supply chain. Now insider’s group own LinkedIn, where you can share your feedback and perspective.

Scott Luton (12:52):

Hey, we’re here to listen. Hope you’ve enjoyed our lace edition of this week in business history. Be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership at supply chain. Now friendly reminder. You can now find this week in business history, wherever you get your podcasts from search for it and subscribe. So you don’t miss a single thing on behalf of the entire team here at this week in business history and supply chain. Now, Hey, this is Scott Luton wishing all of our listeners, nothing but the best do good give forward and be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see next time here on this week in business history. Thanks for buddy

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott introduces you to This Week in Business History through our YouTube channel.

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


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