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Coloring Between The Lines

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/20/2017 | 10:16 AM

Industry Week's guest expert may have shot himself in the foot recently.  He led off with a characterization of 9/11 as an heinous act that ruined the US economy.  Heinous, yes; ruined, not so much.

More to the point, he linked the collapse of his employer's telecommunications business segment, then goes on to blame the technology installation that shifted copper usage as a faster than a speeding bullet legacy installation.

Ummm, I was actually there at the time.  9/11 was heinous, but led to massive recovery investment.  Copper cable "tanking" was a myth; succeeding years set new records in copper cable purchases as fiber optics installations took off.

The expert makes a (weak) case for the destruction of an old paradigm, with replacement by a new one.  And adds wireless technology to the mix - before stirring.

I will freely admit that new technology today replaces the old, faster than we can imagine - and places resource and materials demands faster than Procurement can possibly keep up with.

So, with the myth of one new paradigm some three decades ago discredited, how are we staying ahead of needs among a parade of new paradigms?

Simple to conceive; tough to execute.  But, in all cases, they mean being close to customers, listening to the customers' voices

Not being close after 9/11, not having a clue about technology shifts, not understanding copper cable demand, not getting the massivity of legacy technology infrastructure - all these contributed to the cable company's demise.

That's what happens when a manager posing as a leader takes decisions based on received wisdom.  No amount of expertise changes those realities.

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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven is 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 has been 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. Art's continuing passion remains talent and skills development in the supply chain profession.


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