In 1913, Henry Ford created the assembly line that is credited as the innovative spark from which the supply chain emerged. In the same year, Malcom McLean was born, who would go on to design an invention that would revolutionize the supply chain forever.
Born in Maxton, North Carolina, McLean and his brother (Jim) and his sister (Clara) founded the McLean Trucking Company in the year 1934. The company’s original purpose involved hauling empty tobacco barrels, and the common practice at this time was to load or unload a ship, crate by crate. McLean recognized the inefficiencies of this and with his innovative spirit, began looking for a more efficient alternative.
His inspiration for this alternative showed itself during World War II, when ocean liners began transporting trucks. McLean grasped on to this idea in the hopes of commercializing it. At the time, whole trucks were loaded on to the ship, which consumed precious cargo space, so Malcom thought of the ingenious idea to employ dock cranes to load just the container, and leave the chassis behind. Not only would this save labor money (it could cost over five dollars per ton to hand load a ship at this time), but by disconnecting the container from the chassis would allow more containers to fit onto one ship.
McLean’s shipping container is still used today and certainly has increased the efficiency of the global supply chain. As a supply chain management company, Dolven Enterprises relies on shipping containers daily to ensure our products from all over the globe reach our customers. With their ability to stack and pack neatly onto ships and the proficiency with which they can be loaded and unloaded, these containers increase the value Dolven is able to bring to our customers everyday.