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Eyes On The Balls

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/05/2012 | 12:53 PM

The visiting parish priest was probing the moral character of the lad during dinner, and raised the issue of the Golden Rule. The head of the house tried a cue, "Come on, son, what is the Golden Rule?" The perplexed target of this unwanted attention responded, "Keep your eye on the ball?"

He turned out to be out first son-in-law, and we are pleased to report that he has been replaced, and sent down to the minor leagues.

We've lots - some think too many - balls in the air in trying to be compleat supply chain managers, and it's hard to know which ones to keep an eye on. I am very confident that cutting inventories as a supply chain focus is not the ball to be watching. The real challenge and responsibility is to find the right balance of inventories at a reasonable cost.

Further, cutting overall costs as a supply chain imperative is another wrong ball. As the late Don Bowersox reminded us, cost management in supply chains is not a differentiator, but table stakes - what it takes to be in the game. The real mandate is to elevate enterprise performance with value propositions (a very different beast than cost-cutting) to capture and hold profitable customers - and leverage the organization's assets and resources.

Those might not be what the CFO, under pressure, wants to hear, but they are truths for the long haul - the place to be in preparing for the stretch drive.

While you consider which are the right balls, do keep your eyes open. It is the wrong balls that roar in like 97 mph fastballs and catch you square on the kisser.










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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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