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Archives for February 2018

Toyota Jumps On The Material Handling Bandwagon

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/28/2018 | 7:28 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 Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future.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.

 

In hot industry news, the renowned Dutch material handling company, Vanderlande, was acquired by Toyota.  Vanderlande, a billion dollar corporation, is over 65 years old, and its material handling offerings include software.

Toyota picked up Bastian a couple of months ago.  Its systems integrator role included a position as Toyota's largest forklift provider.  Its goal is to be - not become, but be - the world's largest material handling provider.

Global visions predominate.  While traditional providers promote forklifts, Honeywell has acquired Intelligrated, and KION Group claimed Dematic.  

There is an over-riding thematic vision, though.  As a handful of enterprises stake a claim in a new world, brick-and-mortar players are determined to out-Amazon Amazon, with digitalization and omni-channel dreams, with returns and shipping costs eating into Jeff Bezos' universe.  And a select few global players are in the game . . .

Good luck with that, wanna-be's

Supply Chain Complexity And The Art Of Survival

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/25/2018 | 12:55 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 Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future.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.

 

Turning for a moment to Gentleman Jack, consider how butt-ugly supply chains are.  The complexities involved are in global reach, and must account for world events.  

What we have to deal with, at macro and micro-levels, are: accomodating insane customers and demands; globalized operations and relationships; supplier intricacies relative to the business; and cosmic trends in globalization and operations that account for increasingly incoherent behaviors.

Our challenges become how we lead this hot mess, and where details address those primary sources of SC complexity.

First, avoid complexity as a leading tactic for managing trickeration.

Second, seek and find good working partners - 3 PLs, suppliers, and advisors.  Third, invest in technology - applications, tools, data management, and automation.

4th, build and maintain flexible workforces, with multi-skills, cross training, creative acquisition, and retention. 5th, learn how to collaborate with suppliers, building trust, sharing results, and creating mutual value.  6th, get the right people in the room, at the right times.  Populate the resources with intelligent, high EQ leaders; shoot the managers.

Finally, 7th, link global and business issues, and build sourcing and procurement around them.

Okay, supply chains are complex, but living with them can be straightforward - if you've kept your wits about you.

People Changes And Challenges; Fleeing The Comfort Zone

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/23/2018 | 12:24 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.

 

A MHL piece gets some things right - and some things wrong.  A commentator claims that the SCM term has been with us for only twenty years.  Actually, the term has been published for over thirty-five years, and in common usage for over thirty.  Our use of the term dates to the early '80's.

The writer defines  a flow of the processes, all chasing the same goals.  The complexities of sourcing, manufacturing, warehousing, inventory control, shipping, processing, and order processing help make the activities understandable, and create harmony where chaos had previously reigned.

In theory, SC visibility lets everyone see what goes on throughout the chain.  But, too often, the game begins with cost-cutting, and ends with an end-to-end chain improvement.

A CEO's great challenge is knowing when to leverage people's intelligence.

Achieving visibility is an exercise in  teaching people what's what. Typically, a CEO leads the effort.  But, the obstacles are high.  People's tolerance for change is low, teams have a tendency to go rogue, and resistance is the order of the day.

CEO's almost never order change.  It is not until folks leave their comfort zones that they are free to pursue visibility - and see how the enterprise can perform at a higher level.

It's up to you; it's up to your CEO.  It's a new possibility.

Inspire Me, Big Boy . . .

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/21/2018 | 11:17 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.

 

There is a school of thought that posits that one of the major jobs of leaders and managers is to inspire teams and the workforce, with motivating elements of intimidation, team play, and hands-on  work of functional example.

Here's what can actully be done to inspire others - not a damn thing.  The notion of motivation and inspiration is largely an illusion.

What can be done is to enable the circumstances that promote individuals to inspire an motivate themselvs, create an environment of high performance, and remove obstacles to team  success.  Otherwise, forget it.

That said, for those inclined to attempt inspiration, a few things that might be tried include, if motivation is to be attempted nonetheless.

Make connections that stick, with people who you could help.

Meet others, and brng others together; create ad hoc networks.

Expand yoiur own network by assembling those with common interests.

Believe in the goodness of people; act accordingly.

Welcome, embrace, those who disagree with your points of view.

Adopt a cause, and dedicate yourself to it; get behind a core belief.

Act without fear, even when afraid of the unknown.

Give to the community.

Be grateful; show empathy; celebrate successes.

Be responsible and dependabe; show others that they can count on you.

Tell a good story; create lessons from life; relate stories to people's ability to inspire and motivate themselves.

These are as close to motivation as you'll get.  

So, teach teams and wokers to motivate and inspire themselves - now.

A Future That Might Never Be; Technology Without Robotics

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/16/2018 | 11:27 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.

 

Optimistic views of the future, thirst for transformations in medicine, food, and more.  We anticipate 3D self-propogating body parts, and precision robotics, that can perform amazing feats of incision, excision, and body repair.

In a variant of the field, IBM'S Watson is busy crunching numbers in hopes of refining Artificial Intelligence(AI) to discover new technology applications.

But, we have scratched another surface, none involving precision technology.  The action, per Fortune magazine is centered in pharma, genomics, agriculture, and reduced wait times for treatment.

Hardwired solutions abound: Uber, Lyft, Concentra, Nomad Health, Johns Hopkins, GE Healthcare.  The genomic solutions include: Crispr, Cpf1, Cas9, Editas, Allergan, Keytruda, and 23andMe.  Big Pharma puts big-time players on the field: Merck, but Food is red hot: MemphisMeats, Aquabounty, Impossible Foods (in general, plant-based, lab-grown, and fast growing).  The traditional industry giants stand astride the planet: Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, DuPont, GMO's and Syngenta, along with ChemChina).

This view of the future is radically different from the technology applications that, with robotics,have been the center of our thinking.

A Failure Of Good Intentions

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/14/2018 | 8:55 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.

 

To those for whom design "comes naturally",  it is often thought that some people are hard-wired to perform miracles, even without loaves and fishes.  Only a few of us remember the Studebaker automobile.

World-famous designer Raymond Loewy knocked out a dream machine in three weeks, a modern miracle in itself.  The space-age land-locked rocket set the world, and not just in autos, on its ear, and put sickly Studebaker back on the path to financial health.

That was the plan, anyway, the vision of company president Sherwood Egbert.  But, throw in a great design, add poor planning, and gently mix in quality challenges, and you've got -  great design, until the financial types figure out that the scrap heap only pays pennies on the ton.

The company, a legend nearly as great as Notre Dame in hometown South Bend, Indiana, was okay, but set no records in the Ford/Chevy/Plymouth derby.  Loewy, laboring out of Palm Springs, was once again called on to salvage the sick man of the industry - but this time out, needed a knockout punch, the foundation for a "new" Studebaker, and a new standard for the industry.

That was 1961, with production cranking up a year later.

By 1963, the last models left the plant, and what was left went on a joyride to Canada.  The sick man had finally succumbed, and the last several years were spent in a rehab that never happened.

Great design; lousy quality, poor planning.  All this and a price tag that couldn't compete in the market.  There's a message in here for SCM.  Good intentions don't matter.  Lost sales, lost customers - they don't come back.  And, good intentions to go with the other challenges - they don't come back easily, either.

Any Gas Left In The IoT Tank?

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/12/2018 | 1:29 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 mysterious world of IoT has left a lot to be desired.  That it would solve all of problems (challenges) experienced by SCM, through the universe of supply chain management was a fond hope.

But, the reality has overcome the hype, and we've got only a few things left to address by IoT.

The #1 potential is a quick win to the performance and maintenance of industrial machinery - traditional manufacturing, heavy goods.  IoT have done a good job of gathering data to manage equipment breakdown and/or maintenance.  These inescapably lead to smart scheduling of workloads and workflows.

The quick wins can take performance and guarantee dependability levels.

There is a potential market for IoT apps; it will take time and investment to dollarize them.

Finally, IoT can fully automate manufacturing and supply chain processes.  Rather than push data in from the cloud, IoT can permit automatic adjust operations.  Ultimately, IoT becomes a complete feedback loop, sensing and responding to interconnected data.

But, we are a great distance from quick hits to interconnectivity.

More Robots; More Help

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/11/2018 | 8:33 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.

 

Dave Blanchard and others are asking if the robots are here to help humans or take their jobs.

Jury's out.

Executives surveyed state that their, by far, greatest concern is finding talent—the thing that keeps them up at night. The degree? Some 80+%. A companion survey indicated that a comparable number were getting hired, a staggering shortfall. Anecdotal tales indicate a similar investment in acquiring and retaining quality people.

The conclusion is inescapable. Spend on getting and keeping talent. Hiring the folks you want and getting in a solid eight hours ought to take care of themselves.

Meanwhile, the machines are taking the place of people don't, won't, or can't do robotic repetitive work. Migrant workers are laboring in the fields, and are picking fruit and vegetables. Breaking news: Thousands are being invested in machinery designed to pick apples, breaking the back of the Washington State industry.

So, depending on application, robots are here to help and to take our jobs. It's ironic that humans are needed to train them in empathy, and communications.  

They'll take the jobs away, and we'll help them do it.

A Dynamite Meatloaf Recipe

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/09/2018 | 9:38 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.

 

Highly under-rated singer Meatloaf was the soul of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a surprise cult classic.  Speaking of cults, momentum seems to be gathering behind the push for a universal minimum wage

These cluster around, generally, low-wage low-skill functions such as in retail, quick service food, warehousing, and quasi-taxi service.  The target seems to be about $15/hour, with a preponderance of high-weight/low capability performers.  Government workers are active  - and activist - proponents of living wages for sub-par tasks.

These meatloaf - on a good day - meals are known in the collective as Universal Basic Income, or UBI.  However en vogue these aspirations are, they are made up of three core elements.  One, they are universal; two, they are basic; and three, they do make up an income.

But, to paraphrase Paradise By The Dashboard Light, not much about UBI is attractive.  Two of the three elements are not useful, and one is downright bad.  So, two failures and one winner.

One out of three is not good; two out of three is bad.

The downside is that the basic income is impossibly low, or the cost of it is insanely high.  Implemented, wealthier people would leave the country in droves, to avoid the associated punitive taxes.

Many think that nearly half the population cannot find paid employment.  The exceptions, including government support, are proposed to be UBI.

But, the vaunted universality could be taken as a sign of failure.  The massive cost could be a mortal wound, and Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch coming through with big bucks is unlikely.

Basicality is a lack of fredom to live modestly, and is a catalyst for social unrest.

Income is an avoidance of starving, and it prevents people from enjoying the the better - not free - things in life.  Now, the trick is to figure out how to pay for it.

Maybe we can suss out how to pay for it all.  But, the odds are slim.

Meanwhile, well-intentioned folks think UBI is an answer.  Not so much, dude.  UBI is for dreamers and schemers.  But, the tough love we've been missing, it needs to return to the basics.

Dino: Not A Flintstones' Character

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/07/2018 | 6:59 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.

 

For children of a TVLand age, Dino is a household pet from the Stone Age.  In a more somber time, Dino is a reminder of human fragility and the cratering impact of tragedy.

Enzo Ferrari was a genius engineer and pre-eminent designer who bestrode the automotive universe, symbolizing the best of Italian produce in his legendary cars.  His son and heir was primed to assume control of the signature marque, inheriting the closet-full of checkered flags and trophies that destiny was ready to bequeath when Rex d'Italia Enzo was ready to give up the throne.

Cruel fate intervened, however, and Dino died, in failing health, at the age of 24, never having ruled the kingdom.

Enzo's tributes were two: First, always clad in a black tie symbolizing perpetual mourning; second, creating a permanent auto line, with solely the Dino name as an identifier.

The Dino was a departure, with a tubular and modular mid-engined design (and Pininfarina coachwork), with a limited but long-lasting shelf life.  Over time, Enzo stayed glued to the tribute Dino, as horsepower increased and the wheelbase was extended.

Not truly a performance machine in the realm of "real" Ferraris, the Dino could hit 60 in seven seconds, and was sold world-wide at Ferrari dealerships.  The movable tribute eventually exhausted its cuteness factor, and production ended in 1974, after a build of 4,000 (against a target of 100).

That it was noisy beyond the comprehenion of heavy metal devotees, and had no luggage space whatsoever, were not deterrents to aficionados.  The Dino was testament to a father's love - and the futility of human plans.

For us in SCM, the questions are: to whose memory are we paying tribute?  Who has committed to memorials that either celebrate or mourn our work?

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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