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Wreaking Havoc And Creating Chaos

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/13/2018 | 12:28 PM

Dear readers,

This is Art van Bodegraven's last blog post. Since he passed away June 18, 2017, we've faithfully run his collection of unpublished blog posts each week. Thank you for taking the time to enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog and haven't had a chance to check out our tribute, please click here.

 

OK, how, buffeted as we are by transformative disruption, do we turn the steaming hot mess into competitive advantage. Not by wringing our hands and rending our sackcloth into rags, that's for sure.

But, that's our usual response—crying "wolf"and whimpering how disruption has distorted our sales and successes. Business bodies litter the battlefields of failed charges; maimed and mangled, dead as a hopeful (and hopeless comedian) at a third-tier night club. The storied events are the stuff of legend.

Kodak invented digital photography; then Fuji captured the market. IBM lost the PC market when it blinded itself as Intel and Microsoft shifted gears in value creation. Nokia was asleep at the switch as Ericsson elected to not provide supply chain backup.  Digital watchmaking technology was a Swiss invention that went unshared with the world as Audemars Piguet continued to operate its workshop.  

In the general, Ford, VW, GM, Honda, Toyota, and Honda have all failed to recognize the seismic shift in value creation away from OEMs and toward technology providers who will dominate the field—and soon. Generations have shown that it is vital to new market changes to have an energized supply chain during industry transitions.

Staff from MIT and Vienna University have named three types of development that can—and are willing to—trigger new development of business models

  • Core Business Commoditization. How, then, can a company differentiate?
  • Customer Preference Changes. Hello, Siri. Anyone there? And so, iPhone stole market share from Nokia a decade ago.
  • Innovation. It's all about speed and scale—and supply chain management meets, when effectively led, the needs, including the agility one, in which turning on a dime is vital.

Needs and responsibilities include: paralysis, partial integration and partnering, full integration and transformation, diversity based on capability, where are the weak spots—how can you be disrupted? How can you disrupt your competitors (and your industry), what would like to get done, who is your customer set.

How would you classify your products and services; how would you redesign your supply chain to support disruption? What capabilities and competences do you need to disrupt the efforts of others?

And, critically, when would you/should you take action? One, timing is everything; two, this is why we have leaders. Without genuine authentic leaders, all this disruption and competitive advantage is so much blah, blah, blah, and an expense without return.

Salute, This Memorial Day!

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/11/2018 | 6:20 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.

 

Now, Amazon is taking on people, as well as technology.  The company began with a simple idea from Jeff Bezos; the rest is history.  First, they captured the goods to people fulfillment notion that used up all the industry capacity for automatic movement (and the technology behind it).  Then came the drone revolution, with increasing capacities and accuracy.

Next, the Big Warehouse In The Sky, and the stockroom in The Cloud - the virtual always-on fulfillment blimp.  The hits just keep on coming . . .

This Spring, not content with merely hiring veterans, Amazon has created a fast-track leadership program, propelling entrants on a par with graduates from top business schools.  Candidates arrive with significant experience, coolness under stress, and a host of built-in leadership traits.  They know how - and why - to "git 'er done".

In the Pathways Military Leaders program, Amazon, seeks the best and the brightest - and is finding them.  Their bias for action and proven abilities parallel their continual striving for disruptive change and technology that makes a difference in their competitive universes.

Test cases, toes in the water, wait and see approaches simply won't work.  One is either all in or all out.  

Those who wait are likely to still be waiting a few years from now, while the giant wins at a game that is already over.

Go ahead, President Trump, downsize the troop deployment again - and outsource what's left to Amazon.  Only this time stay away from the IEDs, and concentrate on the supply chain logistics of moving stuff, and moving it well.

Technology and people in the hands of authentic leaders are too powerful to fight off.

T-33's Take To The Skies

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/09/2018 | 1:49 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.

 

Well, maybe not actually the skies, but quite possibly coming nonetheless.  Friend of many years, Cliff Lynch, pays attention to infrastructure and related developments.  His take is that, many factors included, there are tons of good reasons to launch 33-foot twin trailers (T-33's).

The good stuff?  Improved safety.  3 billion gfewer vehicle miles travelled.  4,500 fewer crashes.  Over 50 million saved by lower congestion.  $2.5 billion in cost reductions.  255 million fewer gallons of fuel used, and 3 million tons of CO2 emissions.  What's not to like?  A lot, if one is in the Congress, it appears, with a DOA transport funding bill in 2015.

Nevertheless, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has fought T-33's hammer and tong, citing competitive disadvantage, safety concerns, TOFC issues, and designs for 53- and 28-foot containers.

Specious on a good day; weak when there is a chance of showers.

But, a number of major league players have banded together to promote T-33's, and just maybe the time has come to upgrade this particular aspect of transport.  One may only hope.

A Uniform Code Of Business Judgment

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/06/2018 | 9:45 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.

 

The Uniform Code of Military Justice was, once, the law in military service.  And, patches, pins, and medals were worn with precision and distinction.  Today, uniforms, with some variance in color and style, are symbols of group identity.

In fact you can scarcely go anywhere without some form of identifying clothing.  Oil change specialists, fast food handlers, D-I-Y Big Box employees, gardeners, IT techno-nerds, or fire and flood restoration technicians.  Or, even, insurance companies and sales organizations.  Life coaches and masseurs.

Who doesn't wear a uniform nowadays?  Well, maids, landscapers, and arborists, to name a few.  And, the ultimate in uniform attire a few short years ago, the nattily, if comfortably, dressed United States Postal Service.  Even UPS and FedEx are distinguished by distinctive shirts and shorts.

Who doesn't wear a uniform these days?  The haphazardly ragamuffin USPS - clerks, drivers, package handlers, supervisors, and "managers".

It's beyond sad - dysfunctional clothing,  no sense of identity, unclear or uncertain role, drivers that make 19-year-old weed smokers look respectable, and trash haulers.

Maybe its time for the USPS to adopt a recognizable group identity, and a sense of order and cleanliness.  Torn shirts, tucked in, would be a good start.

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.

The Death Of Diesel

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/15/2018 | 11:25 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.

 

No, not Vin; he is the picture of health. But, OTR truck cabs could be seeing their last days.  Supply Chain Management Review's  5/6/2017 issue contains a heartfelt hymn to trust by intrepid Bob Trebilcock.  Directionally, the piece shows that way to go home, to get where we're going.

The extensive article describing trust at General Motors is, sadly, off-target and just plain wrong in its predictors.  To summarize, The Chevy Bolt was lauded as Car of the Year in 2016.  Of course, GM is in the middle of a 3/4 million truck recall for emisions fraud, while VW languishes in $multi-billion settlements that threaten to sink the Graf Spee.  Between the two, these could signal the last gasp of consumer-level diesel in the US.

Some gains were made, at the expense of suppliers, with GM moving up to the ranks of "average", a position not held for some twenty years.  Innovation and strategies were credited with the gains.  Ourchasing suffered with a new hand at the wheel, with claimed "savings" of over $1 billion in a year, attributed to a shift from cost cutting to cost sharing.  One might wish to validate the supplier base view of these "gains".

Reported gains savaged the supplier base, with GM staking out a claim to last place, and reneged contracts, plus quality and performance demands.  The strategic move was to create SSE, Strategic Supplier Engagement, enabled by Global Purchaing and Supply Chain (GPSC).

One set of outcomes was a new set of transparent metrics and scoresheets.  Input was taken from suppliers, and suppliers were set up to give 360% feedback.

Some think that the suppliers get a payback for building the new relationship documents.  Once again, I'd be inclined to ask the supplier base - unfiltered.

Hey, cut flowers from Colombia are still only cut flowers.  And, a matrix is only a name for a film.  Collaborate away, and hang on to those increasingly rare diesels.

 

Cheaters Can Win; They Seldom Prosper

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/13/2018 | 7:38 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.

 

Nuns, recalling another day and age, whacked Volkswagen with rulers to impose discipline and order.  VW took the pain stoically.  And, there was definitely pain.  

No rulers, just pain.  In the US alone, depending on model, and affected agency, fines ranged from $1.5 billion to over $20 billion.  European fines and recalls totalled more.

Planet-wide, and in the US, selling models were limited to lower margin, lower incentive vehicles, with reduced availability.  The nuns had struck - with ferocity - and VW continues to pay a price, even today.

The customer come-ons, are mere shadows of what is in the market from competitors, and trucks and SUVs abound as Ford, for example, promotes an entire line-up of vehicles. 

The nuns have other targets, as it has now been discovered that General Motors has been cheating on diesel emissions among its truck line, with some half dozen entrants in the "my software can fool your software" derby.

As if GM didn't have enough problems already, with shrinking market share, dwindling profits, and behind the times model choices.  Now, it turns out they have been fudging the emission numbers.

Good luck, GM.

Here come the nuns.

 

Invention Is The Mother of Facts

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/11/2018 | 9:19 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.

 

The late and loved Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan is celebrated as the imputed author of "Every one is entitled to his own set of ideas; no one is entitled to his own set of facts".

Today, we live in a cosmosphere of strongly-held opinions and ideas, some based on nothing at all, some based on what are presented to us as "alternative facts".  When are we given these revelations?  When our ideas are egregious mismatches with observable facts.

So much for political commentary; so much for current and over-heated feelings and positions.  Whither rational discourse; whither the facts that can be interpreted in the development of thoughtful ideas?

How do these affect supply chain management?  Answer; they'd better not.  We can, apparently, afford opinions in extremis and false facts, along with prominently characterized "fake" news.

But, our work decisions and our customer handling must be made based on reality - reality in facts and reality in their conclusions.  

Anything less is a dis-service, both internally and externally - and we can't afford notions and random "facts".

The Gate Is Rusting Off Its Hinges

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/08/2018 | 5:33 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.

 

A local practitioner has become unhinged, passionately believing that the 20th century holds all the answers needed for the 21st.

His singular focus set has deteriorated into the terminal stages, in which all about him are accosted with evidence that the paradigms of another age are solutions to the pressing solutions for tomorrow.

And, anyone who won't provide the deluded with a job obviously doesn't get it, fails to see the relevance of solutions that no longer solve any real and current problems.

Ultimately, I/We have had to send him away.  His ignorance turns aside rational positions, and he has become annoying on a good day, and a pain in the nether regions on a bad one.

Unfortunately, the gate is sufficiently unhinged to repair; it holds only scrap value.  And, this is the future of tomorrow's practitioner, over-experienced and under-water.

Car Men; Cash Men; Con Men

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/06/2018 | 2:54 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 battlefields of commerce are strewn with the maimed - and dead, casualties of the flagship of American business, and (mostly) failed losses to Japanese and Korean conquerors.

What became of American industrial might once sprung from workshops and shade trees.  It formed the bedrock of a prospering middle class, enduring legacies, in addition to ancillary services and activities.

Along the way, we discovered that the automobile universe was comprised of diverse elements.  Some were tinkerers, some were inventors, some were cut/fit/trim improvers of the tried and true technology.  Some were designers, some were all about performance on the street and on the track.

These were the car guys, the steamers, the streamliners, the suspension and carburation gurus.  A few escalated their visions with building great factories among us.These were the Dodge boys, Elwood Haynes, the pride of Kokomo, Pininfarina, Ferrari, Daimler, Ransom Olds, Henry Ford, and the like.

Some depended on educators and managers to bail out a company's finances: Alfred Sloan and  Studebaker come to mind.  Still others combined many elements, Lee Iacoccca being a prime example.

Others were tougher to psychoanalyze, with futuristic, if un-needed, technology, bringing us "tomorrow's car " today, built and delivered in three months or so.  Edsel, the infamous Tucker, Maclaren.  Were they failures, useless cons, or genuine new-century concepts?  Where do/did their promoters fall in the pantheon of wanna-be car guys?

Given that Tucker may or may not have been a fraud and a con, most of those getting rich were those pioneering newer selling approaches: Fred Ricart; Jim Moran, the Courtesy Man; franchise bundlers; zero down, unconventional trade-ins; various products from Earl "Madman" Muntz; and the ill-fated DeLorean (made in Ireland until its demise).

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.



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