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Squabbling Siblings and Supersonic Supply Chains

By Art van Bodegraven | 01/08/2011 | 1:16 PM

When our children were younger, and prone to public misbehaving in the way that small competitors will, we would make them hold hands as we went about the business of shopping or whatever.  Egregious infighting could result in a command to hold both hands of the nearest opponent.  The resulting group progression through Macy's or Kroger was lurching, awkward, painful to observe, frustrating to be part of, and comical in appearance, but we did manage to complete the task at hand, however ineffectively.

I recently recalled those little life lessons in the context of supply chains competing with other supply chains.  What if all the energy being spent at present as shippers try to squeeze carriers and as carriers poke shippers with the sharp sticks of capacity and rate challenges - or all the effort being put into disputes with logisics service providers  - were instead dedicated to building stronger, better integrated, more seamless, and faster, smoother supply chain relationships?

Where do you suppose the lurching, awkward, squabbling supply chain will wind up as it tries to compete with its collaborative, cooperative, and customer-focused competitor?

When the kids were little, the group had to disband, each retiring to his or her own room when we returned home, with a promise to get a fresh start on the morrow.  Unfortunately, a broken supply chain may not live to see a morrow with the luxury of a clean slate and a fresh start.

Not so comical as our years-ago family farces.

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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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