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Wait! Isn't Waterboarding Illegal?

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/12/2012 | 9:17 AM

For those who failed to remove their iPod ear buds for the duration of Gulf War II, waterboarding is an enhanced interrogation technique that simulates drowning in a most convincing way. Opponents maintain that is an un-American and inhumane practice. Also, that the intelligence (or confessions) it gains are generally useless, being desperate attempts to give interrogators what they seem to want. That is true.

Proponents maintain that it might be appropriate to terrorize terrorists. They also cite the value of the waterboard-induced contributions of Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), who sang like an 18th-century European castrato at the moment of truth. That is also true.

This came to mind the other day as I was thinking about different supply chain constructs and challenges. It struck me that companies like QVC and HSN generate self-induced supply chain waterboarding by the nature of their business models. The initial thoughts were reinforced as I surfed through the QVC world seeking a cubic zirconia bauble to adorn m'lady's graceful hand.

A few days later, it was made clear to me that it would have been wiser to have waited for a special on emeralds, and I returned the multi-carat CZ triumph of design (creating a reverse waterboarding moment back in the depths of QVC).

We all have moments of challenge in planning and executing in our supply chains. But, QVC and similar operations, of their own free will, create supply chain activity spikes a few times an hour, throughout the day, day after day, week after week. The pressures must surely mount when a celebrity is in on the promotion, and the death march to sell through tens of thousands of units in one swoop is on.

And, the product involved could be jewelry, frozen steaks, live plants, apparel, electronics - you name it. Imagine the receiving, putaway, pick/pack/ship implications.

And thank your lucky stars that you face neither waterboarding nor an unfulfilled life as a castrato.





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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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