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Mr. van Winkle, This Is Your 2012 Wake-Up Call . . .

By Art van Bodegraven | 09/26/2012 | 8:38 AM

Largely forgotten today, Rip van Winkle is a character and a title created by American writer Washington irving in 1819.Mijn Heer van Winkle was reported to have slept for twenty years after consuming potables of uncertain provenance from a group of small men playing at nine pins in the Kaatskill mountains of upstate New York, a center of Dutch settlement in the New World.

Rip thus escaped the calamities of the Revolution and the horrors of life with Dame van Winkle, a woman of sharp powers of observation and even sharper commentaries, especially those directed at Rip's numerous shortcomings.

A frighteningly similar outcome surfaced in the latest issue of an otherwise respected trade publication, in which some really smart people argued powerfully for bridging the great divide between Procurement and Supply Chain organizations.

Good stuff, except for the growing reality that Sourcing and Procurement are integrated parts of the Supply Chain organization in many progressive companies.  I will freely admit that there is no one organizational structure for Supply Chain that is "right" for all companies.  But, imho, an environment in which Supply Chain and Procurement are adversarial entities that need to communicate and collaborate better is one that is clinging to a last bastion of siloed functionality in its supply chain management planning and execution.

So, have these learned worthies been asleep for twenty years?  Have they awakened to fight the battle of the last century?  You be the judge.

I will offfer the case of an un-named consumer products manufacturer that took the bold step of collapsing its sourcing and procurement resources into the overall supply chain structure.  Not satisfied with putting only one toe in the water, the well-known company also integrated manufacturing planning and operations into the overall (and integrated) structure.

Sound adventurous?  It was, and it all happened twenty years ago.  So, I am back to the theme: better communications and collaboration are not the answers we need.  Integration and transparency - bombing the silos and breaking down the barriers - are.



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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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