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Disarm the Pundits; Cripple the Commentators

By Art van Bodegraven | 11/12/2017 | 1:04 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 Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future.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 Talking Heads—no, not the band—and dispensers of wisdom for cash, a sort of ATM for misinformation, are at it again. The past two days alone have provided fodder for the cognitively challenged and easily influenced.

I don't know whether to laugh, cry, call the cops, or wind my watch. The Fitbit takes care of itself in the power department.

On one hand, a highly respected trade press group has heralded the advent of the customer experience as the key that unlocks the future. They maintain that customer service is what will make omnichannel retail a profitable, eventually dominant, parallel supply chain.

On the other, an equally repected media conglomerate has admonished that the tide is going out—rapidly. They claim that investments in customer service are flat or waning—and that controlling costs in the omnichannel universe is the new focus of corporate management.

So, who's right? Does it matter? Does any one of these self-anointed mavens even care? How might they, and their networks, be affected by dispute, disagreement without commentary, disparate 
"expert" opinions, and out-and-out polar-opposite analyses? 

The pernicious disease seeps into all phases of public discourse. In the political arena, there may be some excuse for cashing in on past glories, or positioning for a more powerful role when the road banks and makes a sharp turn. But, in supply chain management? The glories tend to be smaller, to be direct.

Not that all those who rage against the machine are bumbling dolts. I get inspiration and thought material from Mitch Mac Donald, Toby Gooley, Dave Maloney, Mark Solomon, and the rest of the terrific Agile Business Media team. Adelante's Adrian Gonzalez and MIT's Larry Lapide are solid thinkers who can blend fresh concepts with practical applications. I treasure the real contributors, and hold the Screamin' Mimis (not a hot club act at the moment) in disdain.

But, we all have a tough responsibility to sort through the throwaway lines and pay attention to the real stuff, before being seduced into premature or misdirected action.

Meanwhile, there's space at Gitmo, where SCM goings-on can be seen in perspective. Maybe six months, followed by shock parole, would sharpen the guest experts' world views. One can only hope.

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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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