If the kids are wondering why Christmas presents are arriving late this year, author Megan Preston Meyer has a couple of illustrated children's books that can explain the supply chain to them.

Meyer, a Minnesota native who returns to the state frequently, has self-published two books about the adventures of Supply Jane and her dog Fifo that teach children about logistics and the supply chain.

Lesson one: Know your stuff. FIFO is an acronym for the first-in, first-out inventory supply strategy.

Meyer and her husband have been living and working for the last nine years in Switzerland. She grew up in Duluth and jokes she has 2.25 degrees from the University of Minnesota. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology, an MBA in operations management and she started a Ph.D. before deciding academia wasn't for her.

She also credits her high school job working at a Duluth Subway restaurant and later managing a Subway at Rosedale mall for exposing her to concepts like franchising, standardization and the idea that 6-inch Italian B.M.T. sandwich in Duluth, Rosedale or Arizona could all be prepared and taste the same.

"I love processes and the way things work," Meyer said. "My time in Subway led me to operations management."

She worked for global companies, including SABMiller, AB InBev and the Swiss fresh-food vending company Felfel.

She initially was tasked with typical supply-chain logistics issues, like sourcing grains from Africa to meet SABMiller's brewing needs. Then, she grew toward analytics. "Everything I was doing involved a spreadsheet," Meyer said.

Two years ago, she realized she had become a "really good analyst." She could create statistical models with ease and she enjoyed turning analytical insights into recommendations.

But she also wanted to write children's books. So she quit to focus on that.

"I figured after one year I would still be employable," Meyer said. "I could brush off my resume and go back to the corporate world if I needed to."

Lesson two: Make a plan. Meyer wouldn't say she's a big risk taker. She likes security and comfort so she put her analytics background to work to build what she called her "spreadsheet of liberation."

"I took my savings and our monthly expenses and calculated how much runway I could afford," Meyers said. "I thought I can absolutely take a year off without making a single dime."

Two years in, she's written "Supply Jane Clears the Way" and "Fifo Saves the Day." She'll start a third book in the series soon and has a "glimmer of an idea" for a fourth.

"I'm not a New York Times bestseller yet, but I'm having a lot of fun," Meyer said. "I haven't looked back towards the corporate world."

Still a planner, she's since done a strategic review of her publishing business and established more goals for the future.

Lesson three: Have fun. She's augmented her writing with some corporate communications consulting and writing workshops. "What I really, really love doing is figuring out how to take complex topics and make them simple," Meyer said.

Her consulting work has focused on teaching B-to-B companies to be more engaging, lighthearted and authentic in their writing and presentations.

But she considers herself more author than consultant and says writing books is certainly more fun. She recently published a supply-chain homage to " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

The Supply Jane and Fifo books haven't been profitable yet but they've led to other publishing gigs. Parents have told her their children now have a better grasp of what they do at work and Meyer said she believes her books will influence children on career possibilities.

"As long as I can keep coming up with ideas, I think I'll keep going," Meyer said. "I'm very happy with this career choice."