Archives for September 2009

Days Of Peace, Love, And Music

By Art van Bodegraven | 09/17/2009 | 12:47 PM

Strolling the aisles of our local Whole Foods market the other day, I had two burning quesrions.  One was: Who left the gate to the commune open?  There were enough tie-dyed T-shirts and shifts to clothe an entire Grateful Dead audience.  The second was: Is conspicuous body art (tattoos to the uninitiated) a fast track to management in the Cheese Department?

But, seduced by the charcuterie, I soldiered on.  After a very pleasant exchange with a cashier of indeterminate persuasion, I stopped to reconsider my snarky air of superiority.  We are surrounded by more open diversity in dress, thought, style, social orientation, and ethnicity than ever before.  We’d better get used to it.

More than that, we’d better accept it.  Not long ago, it was considered enlightened to talk about “tolerance” in matters of diversity.  Ugly word, tolerance, connoting putting up with something (or someone) that’s not quite right, not quite the same as the rest of us, not quite as good as it should be.

Today, the real need is for embracing differences, not merely tolerating them.  I don’t mean ditzy gushing and singing “kumbaya.”  I do mean genuinely understanding and considering differences while working and living with diverse elements of our population.  It’s also completely okay to celebrate cultural differences, especially when the best coffee and pastries on the planet are part of the package.

Why is this important in thinking about business relationships?  Simple.  Not all of the organizations that would make excellent supply chain partners are just like our own organization.  Nor are all of the people in them just like us.  Cultures and styles will vary, and we can’t afford to let superficialities stand in the way of building great supply chains (presuming that core values and visions are compatible).

What’s your experience?  Are you involved in working relationships with “different” organizations?  What are the biggest challenges to effective interaction and integration?  Has your view of the world been broadened by the relationship?

More thoughts about diversity may be found at www.artvanbodegraven.com/publications (available soon).

Masters of the Obvious Take the Stage

By Art van Bodegraven | 09/03/2009 | 1:28 PM

It has become fashionable - even a cliche - to opine, as if a new tablet had been discovered on the Mount, that "Companies don't compete against other companies any longer; supply chains compete against other supply chains."  C'mon guys, that pseudo-aha moment was already passe by the end of the last century.

What we need to be focusing on in the 21st century is how to leverage business relationships to further optimize the power – and outcomes – of end-to-end supply chain performance.  The supply chain world has an enormous advantage in being able to create multi-directional business relationships; it is not confined to the more traditional arena of customer relationship constructs.  A player in any given supply chain can have the potential to build upstream relationships with suppliers, as well as downstream with customers.  And, the prevalence of 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) service providers in logistics and supply chain operations and planning introduces still more powerful relationship opportunities.

So, where are you in the realm of supply chain opportunities for business relationships?  Are you a prisoner of where you are in the chain?  Does an ultimate customer dominate – or trump – what you’d like to do with relationships?  Are you a weak player on a strong team?  Are you seeing potential breakthroughs, or substantial improvements, in prospective supply chain business relationships?

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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