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The Death Of Diesel

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/15/2018 | 11:25 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

No, not Vin; he is the picture of health. But, OTR truck cabs could be seeing their last days.  Supply Chain Management Review's  5/6/2017 issue contains a heartfelt hymn to trust by intrepid Bob Trebilcock.  Directionally, the piece shows that way to go home, to get where we're going.

The extensive article describing trust at General Motors is, sadly, off-target and just plain wrong in its predictors.  To summarize, The Chevy Bolt was lauded as Car of the Year in 2016.  Of course, GM is in the middle of a 3/4 million truck recall for emisions fraud, while VW languishes in $multi-billion settlements that threaten to sink the Graf Spee.  Between the two, these could signal the last gasp of consumer-level diesel in the US.

Some gains were made, at the expense of suppliers, with GM moving up to the ranks of "average", a position not held for some twenty years.  Innovation and strategies were credited with the gains.  Ourchasing suffered with a new hand at the wheel, with claimed "savings" of over $1 billion in a year, attributed to a shift from cost cutting to cost sharing.  One might wish to validate the supplier base view of these "gains".

Reported gains savaged the supplier base, with GM staking out a claim to last place, and reneged contracts, plus quality and performance demands.  The strategic move was to create SSE, Strategic Supplier Engagement, enabled by Global Purchaing and Supply Chain (GPSC).

One set of outcomes was a new set of transparent metrics and scoresheets.  Input was taken from suppliers, and suppliers were set up to give 360% feedback.

Some think that the suppliers get a payback for building the new relationship documents.  Once again, I'd be inclined to ask the supplier base - unfiltered.

Hey, cut flowers from Colombia are still only cut flowers.  And, a matrix is only a name for a film.  Collaborate away, and hang on to those increasingly rare diesels.

 

Cheaters Can Win; They Seldom Prosper

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/13/2018 | 7:38 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Nuns, recalling another day and age, whacked Volkswagen with rulers to impose discipline and order.  VW took the pain stoically.  And, there was definitely pain.  

No rulers, just pain.  In the US alone, depending on model, and affected agency, fines ranged from $1.5 billion to over $20 billion.  European fines and recalls totalled more.

Planet-wide, and in the US, selling models were limited to lower margin, lower incentive vehicles, with reduced availability.  The nuns had struck - with ferocity - and VW continues to pay a price, even today.

The customer come-ons, are mere shadows of what is in the market from competitors, and trucks and SUVs abound as Ford, for example, promotes an entire line-up of vehicles. 

The nuns have other targets, as it has now been discovered that General Motors has been cheating on diesel emissions among its truck line, with some half dozen entrants in the "my software can fool your software" derby.

As if GM didn't have enough problems already, with shrinking market share, dwindling profits, and behind the times model choices.  Now, it turns out they have been fudging the emission numbers.

Good luck, GM.

Here come the nuns.

 

Invention Is The Mother of Facts

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/11/2018 | 9:19 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

The late and loved Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan is celebrated as the imputed author of "Every one is entitled to his own set of ideas; no one is entitled to his own set of facts".

Today, we live in a cosmosphere of strongly-held opinions and ideas, some based on nothing at all, some based on what are presented to us as "alternative facts".  When are we given these revelations?  When our ideas are egregious mismatches with observable facts.

So much for political commentary; so much for current and over-heated feelings and positions.  Whither rational discourse; whither the facts that can be interpreted in the development of thoughtful ideas?

How do these affect supply chain management?  Answer; they'd better not.  We can, apparently, afford opinions in extremis and false facts, along with prominently characterized "fake" news.

But, our work decisions and our customer handling must be made based on reality - reality in facts and reality in their conclusions.  

Anything less is a dis-service, both internally and externally - and we can't afford notions and random "facts".

The Gate Is Rusting Off Its Hinges

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/08/2018 | 5:33 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

A local practitioner has become unhinged, passionately believing that the 20th century holds all the answers needed for the 21st.

His singular focus set has deteriorated into the terminal stages, in which all about him are accosted with evidence that the paradigms of another age are solutions to the pressing solutions for tomorrow.

And, anyone who won't provide the deluded with a job obviously doesn't get it, fails to see the relevance of solutions that no longer solve any real and current problems.

Ultimately, I/We have had to send him away.  His ignorance turns aside rational positions, and he has become annoying on a good day, and a pain in the nether regions on a bad one.

Unfortunately, the gate is sufficiently unhinged to repair; it holds only scrap value.  And, this is the future of tomorrow's practitioner, over-experienced and under-water.

Car Men; Cash Men; Con Men

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/06/2018 | 2:54 PM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

The battlefields of commerce are strewn with the maimed - and dead, casualties of the flagship of American business, and (mostly) failed losses to Japanese and Korean conquerors.

What became of American industrial might once sprung from workshops and shade trees.  It formed the bedrock of a prospering middle class, enduring legacies, in addition to ancillary services and activities.

Along the way, we discovered that the automobile universe was comprised of diverse elements.  Some were tinkerers, some were inventors, some were cut/fit/trim improvers of the tried and true technology.  Some were designers, some were all about performance on the street and on the track.

These were the car guys, the steamers, the streamliners, the suspension and carburation gurus.  A few escalated their visions with building great factories among us.These were the Dodge boys, Elwood Haynes, the pride of Kokomo, Pininfarina, Ferrari, Daimler, Ransom Olds, Henry Ford, and the like.

Some depended on educators and managers to bail out a company's finances: Alfred Sloan and  Studebaker come to mind.  Still others combined many elements, Lee Iacoccca being a prime example.

Others were tougher to psychoanalyze, with futuristic, if un-needed, technology, bringing us "tomorrow's car " today, built and delivered in three months or so.  Edsel, the infamous Tucker, Maclaren.  Were they failures, useless cons, or genuine new-century concepts?  Where do/did their promoters fall in the pantheon of wanna-be car guys?

Given that Tucker may or may not have been a fraud and a con, most of those getting rich were those pioneering newer selling approaches: Fred Ricart; Jim Moran, the Courtesy Man; franchise bundlers; zero down, unconventional trade-ins; various products from Earl "Madman" Muntz; and the ill-fated DeLorean (made in Ireland until its demise).

How Real Is Artificial Intelligence?

By Art van Bodegraven | 03/11/2018 | 10:12 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Real enough?  And, has AI infiltrated the ranks of HR professionals?.  If so, HR remains one of the last bastions of unthinking acceptance of received wisdom - and the lack of courage to act on it.

The sad truth is that AI is being applied to a number of people analytics, to parse qualities and trends - and attributes - that make for winning employees.

Putting aside the nuances of  human analytics, AI is now playing a role in hiring.  One may only hope that the professionals know what they are doing in this arena.  We have endured generations of testing, personality assessments, structured classification systems, and - the dreaded - job interview.  From those we know next door to nothing about how how skills match up with needs, especially in the 21st century, and mostly spend our time vaidating preconceived notions, chest-thumping, promoting the wonders of the prospective employer, and assessing how well the candidate is likely to perform on the job.

All pretty much useless - or worse.  Here's how AI is actually useful in a modern context, in predicting desired performance, and in unearthing, through data, analytics, and algorithms, likely success factors.

Forget Education.  People without any college have incresased over time, and some high-performers have not attended college at all.  But, they perform, as solid team players

Grit Matters; IQ Doesn't.  Lengthy studies of numerous factors identified a common thread of success.  It was not health, appearance, or intelligence; it was raw persistence and passion that made a genuine and measurable difference.

Experience Isn't Everything; It might Turn Out To Be Not Anything.  More studies have shown that mid-level college graduates with extracurricular activities outperform leaders and club presidents.  Every organization needs more team players and fewer stars.

Your Star Might Not Be Their Star.  Apparent success at the last job is a zero indicator of high performance at the new one.  Hours worked (results from focused effort) might be useful; once again, indicators of teamwork are much more powerful.

Ignore Facebook, Now And Forever.  A photo showing a drink is a far better representation than a SnapChat of drug useage or indications of bigotry.  Drinking, social, is acceptable; other behaviors can signal sub-par outcomes.

Leading organizations are using smart AI to sharpen the game their new hires can play; laggards are still playing toe in the water and testing/evaluating.  Guess who loses the end game, and guess who blames others for the failure.

Honours, Plaudits, And Awards

By Art van Bodegraven | 03/09/2018 | 10:45 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

My esteemed publishers at Agile Business Media have scored the Red Carpet treatment of Tony's, Oscars, Grammy's, Obie's and Golden Globes in the age of print media.  The May 2017 issue reported honours presented by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) with Regional Azbee awards for editorial excellence.

My bias is that recognition comes from a clear separation of the editorial and advertising sides of the house, in a trade press chock-full of faux ads disguised as news and case reports.

The Agile publications cited include: DC Velocity; and CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly.

Individual awards landed in the laps of: Toby Gooley, SCQ Editor; Mark Solomon, DCV Executive Editor - News; Agile's Group Editorial Director, Mitch Mac Donald; and Karen Bachrach, DCV's Executive Editor - Features.

No, president Trump; we do not get tired of winning.

And, these are winners, all.   Deserved congratulations!

A Model For Mad Men

By Art van Bodegraven | 03/07/2018 | 8:43 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Once upon a time, a living exemplar of The Man In The Grey Flannel Suit, populated, even dominated, the burgeoning universe of American business.  Uniformity, but brilliance, fueled by a three-martini lunch.  Before Don Draper's fall from grace.  

Just imagine what it's like, wearing flannel; it'd be like walking about in winter sheets.

Alfred P. Sloan (P. For Pritchard) was a brilliant businesss mind, surpassing Henry Ford, as he built General Motors from the framework of United Motors (his father having bought a bearing company that prospered from its relationship with Oldsmobile).  Born with a silver lug wrench, so to speak, he went on to Brooklyn Polytechnic, then to MIT.

Alfred personified the "organization man", educated, from the right side of the tracks, and superbly organized.  He pioneered techniques later perfected by IBM's Thomas Watson: annual model changes; planned obsolescence; design; styling; brand identity; ; financial management; and ruthless industry dominance.  His creation defined an age, defied performance paradigms, and became humankind's largest-ever industrial enterprise.

He was not an aesthete or visionary, but a shrewd manager of diversity, a philanthropic engineer and  super-rational devotee of inventories and moving/selling sheet metal.

His power was immense, the original celebrity business leader, in the mold of Jack Welch (or Steve Jobs with a soul).

Without a soul, GM (somewhat like IBM or Renault) collaborated with the German Nazis to  put Opel and GM at the service of the Reich.  Without GM, there would have been no Messerschmidt, no invasion of Poland or Russia.

The ultimate right was GM's to run its global business.  Meanwhile, Ford engaged in violence against its workers; GM took the espionage route; each was intent on its own definition of success.

Alfred's steely and perpetual visage still looks down on the GM board room in Detroit's RenCen, where his hopeful legacy focuses on education, health care, and sundry magnificent good deeds.

This is the legacy of the tyrant whose hubris destroyed the colossus he had conceived and built - the man who ruined GM (and poisoned its workforce).

Suspicious Minds

By Art van Bodegraven | 03/04/2018 | 2:20 PM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

To the shock and surprise of absolutely no one, The Ol' Blogmeister has been unveiled as a dancer, an uninvited guest at the masquerade.  By now, you all now that I can't spell without help, and struggle with tense, case, and number in otherwise thoughtful observations.

Basically, and expecting the worst, I pipelined dozens of blog posts, beginning now, and running through the opening of festivities at the beginning of March 2018.  The fly swimming in the soup is the need to change internet service providers, email addresses, and passwords.  The consequence is that each and every blog from then 'til 2 March 2018 is riddled with errors, most of the mis-spelt variety.  

Today marks our return to a more perfect world - and we are ready.  It's good to put on one's work clothes and get one's pen dirty in good causes.

The meaning of our adventure in the supply chain management space is to remember that over-committing is as bad, or worse, than under-committting.  Don't over-invest in what might be; do invest in reasonable precaution on the trip to risk mitigation and management.

Apologies, btw, for sassy, but deficient interim entries.  Please cut me some slack when egregious error diminishes my message.  Thanks for understanding.

Are You Ready For Cyber-Crime? Probably Not!

By Art van Bodegraven | 03/02/2018 | 11:07 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

We tend to think of cyber-crime as white-collar fraud.  Fake IRS returns, imaginary credit cards, creative accounts, check fraud involving friends and neighbors, churches and service organizations.

But, businesses need to do more, to protect against risk.  Malicious marketing campaigns; disruptions caused by privacy breaches and botnets.  Customer data and trade secrets are at risk.

And, as IoT devices proliferate, the related vulnerabilities grow exponentially, especially as the mini-technology gets integrated farther back in the chain.

Recognize that many industries have been affected by cyber-crime.  Steal shamelessly from their techniques, and help manage risk through the experience of others.

Basically, your responsibility is to take a measured risk-based approach.  Are you vulnerable to attack, or worse?  Is your intellectual property safe?  Is it in the hands of the Indians or Chinese, both notorious for the theft of ideas?

Be constantly vigilant.  Is AI a vulnerability, and a risk for threats in an interconnected supply chain?

Be prepared; be resilient.  Know how long recovery might take, and who has the resources to remediate?

Boy Scout time; be prepared.  And, be on top of your game.  Your customer base is at stake, as is its integrity.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.



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