D-Day and the End of the Bloomingdale’s Catalog
Interestingly, none of the above is an actual weapon of destruction. Rather, all were support elements—transportation, communications, management and propaganda efforts—and missteps.
If I had to list the eight most important factors responsible for the Allied victory in World War II, I would pick the following (I’m sure readers who are military history buffs would have other choices):
1. 2,751 Liberty ships were constructed in 16 shipyards from 1941-1945;
2. The 562,750 “deuce-and-a-half” trucks were built by General Motors that moved personnel, ammunition, fuel and supplies;
3. 639,245 Jeeps were built between 1941 and 1945 by Willy’s and Ford;
4. 20,094 Higgins Boats—assault landing craft designed to carry troops and matériel from mother ship to shore;
5. Approximately 10,000 C-47 transport planes built during the war by the Douglas Aircraft Co.;
6. The code-breakers—the Enigma machines operating in Bletchley Park, outside London, and the U.S. Navy cryptologists that deciphered the Japanese naval codes;
8. FUSAG: The Pas-de-Calais Ruse that faked out the Germans and greatly minimized resistance when the invasion was finally launched.
All these support elements made it possible for the troops to fight, planes to bomb and strafe, and ships to sink ships, as well as confuse the hell out of the enemy.
In the world of catalogs and direct marketing, the support elements mean world-class warehousing and shipping; order intake capabilities; smooth customer service; and, above all, a single, highly efficient marketing, inventory and accounting database.
What is badly needed: a system whereby employees are not considered chattels, but rather every employee is encouraged to continually think outside the box about new ways to market and run the organization more efficiently and profitably—to dream up the equivalent of crickets, Mulberries, PLUTO and flail tanks. What’s more, a system should be in place to evaluate these ideas and reward the inventors with extra cash if their efforts are adopted.