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The Future Arrives In Small Doses

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/04/2018 | 10:04 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 Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future.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.

 

A company can build the best car in the world, but if buyers don't get it, or want it, it's Edsel time - game over before the opening whistle.  Chrysler discovered what it means, or costs, when a car maker doesn't read the market.

in 1934, when I was still in short pants, the Chrysler/DeSoto twins were today's just plain old-fashioned.  In the day, they were ground-breakingly avant garde.  The concept, born of birds in flight, of reducing wind flow.  The goal? A car that would go faster, look smashing, and use less fuel than gas guzzlers of the Golden Age.

The result? A car that would go faster in reverse than in forward, which led to a much more "slippery" design.  Other improvements included more balanced weight distribution and body-on-frame construction.

Six years of development, a failed, if expected, surge in sales, and lukewarm trade press reviews, and brand sales plummeted by 40%, as a four-year production run ground to a halt.

Later, the DeSoto sturdiness and quickness captured public attention, but we'd not see a failure on this scale until the scares-children-at-night Edsel.

The future would just have to wait a bit.  Like 25 years.

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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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