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Making Converts, One Soul At a Time

By Art van Bodegraven | 09/18/2012 | 8:14 AM

The missionary business is tough, always selling, seriously outnumbered, into another faction's strengths and strongholds.  This is true in any religion, in any location on the planet.  Unless, of course, the missionary has the advantage of a fierce army on one side and a body of water on the other, with the object(s) of his or her affections in between.

In consequence, the process is arduous, with intense one-on-one logic, persuasion, warnings, alarms, and promises of a difficult-to-validate future.  But, the effort is all worth it for the true believer, and each small win is a triumph.

So it is in the fertile fields of transforming supply chain functionaries into broad thinkers and strategists who command respect and communicate clearly at the highest executive levels in an enterprise.  A key, in addition to being slightly more than half smart, is the ability to speak another language, which is also a challenge for more traditional missionaries.

The lingua franca is that of Finance, of corporate performance in its deepest and broadest dimensions.  We've talked about this over-riding need in our profession for years, now.  The obvious next question is " How do we do that"?

Comes now my old friend, Larry Lapide, with a crisp and well-reasoned exploration of how to use the venerable DuPont Model (sometimes called the Strategic Profit Model) as a framework for learning the lingo and for presenting the possibilities - and/or outcomes - of elevated supply chain planning and execution.

In short, this is the door we open to become welcome in the corner office, to get invited to work at a peer level with the CIO, CFO, COO, and the like in plotting strategies and operational execution.

A few supply chain professionals get this.  I've been including a DuPont Model segment in workshops for the past three years.  MY partner and I have been promoting its use since at least as early s 2007.  The Ohio State University (among others, I am sure) uses it, and other tools, in its supply chain curriculum to get budding practioners plugged in to the bigger picture.  And Larry is getting the message out to a large audience.

Some may have reservations.  The original tool dates back to the second decade of the 20th century.  But, some truths are timeless.  And, thanks to the magic of Excel, we can now play "what if" games with the model to assess all manner of options in how supply chains operate.

There is hope.  And, we will continue to promote hope as we go about winning over eager new believers, one by one.

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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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