Archives for January 2013

Allons Enfants De la Patrie . . .

By Art van Bodegraven | 01/28/2013 | 12:28 PM

OK, fellow historians, I know that Les Miserables concerns the 1832 Paris uprising, and not the actual French Revolution.  Nevertheless, Mme. vB and your superannuated tenor attended Tom Hooper's film version of the musical that  conquered the western world a few weeks ago.  Must have been a faulty ventilation system in the theater, as many runny eyes and snuffly noses were in evidence.  Perthaps the change of seasons played a role, as we were similarly afflicted.

To our shock, but not surprise, it took mere moments before the critiquing classes emerged with an inexhaustable supply of sibiliant sniping.  For some, it was too musical, with insufficient dialogue.  Hey, pull on your big boy pants and climb down out of your alien spaceship.  It is a musical epic, not a movie with tunes.  Think La Boheme vs. Mary Poppins.

For others, it was too much of a film, with heartbreaking closeups, and staggering panoramic vistas.  Imagine these twits with the whatever to complain about visual storytelling techniques that freed the flow and impact of the story, characters, and music from the limitations of stagecraft that, at best, can only be suggestive.  Imagine letting actors act with all of their faculties, rather than having to rely on the crude sweeping gestures that are necessary on the stage.

Next, many complained about the failure of the actors' voices to match someone's idea of concert hall quality.  In truth, we thought at the moment, and still do, that the very human imperfections of the voices added mightily to the authenticity and credibility of the performances.  In fact, we contend that the purest voice presented was the least credible and moving.

And, this is where we saw parallels with our day-to-day world of supply chain execution.  We strive for perfection, yet frequently fall short.  We constantly operate under the scrutiny of the expectations of others.  We are often not elegant.

But, we get the job done, whatever it takes, and learn about doing better for the next time.  We are, better or worse, authentic strivers in the arena.  At the end of the day, we are, perhaps battered, willing to take on the next one.

Continuously improving agents of accomplishment, we may even have some disdain for those who are looking for style points among the bodies on the field of conflict.













Obstructed View

By Art van Bodegraven | 01/21/2013 | 9:52 AM

Many apologies for my tardiness;  several medicos were researching the nether parts, which obstructed access to a keyboard.  Of course, what with Super Bowl coming up and football themes, it was the Hands Team involved.

Continuing the sports theme, many older venues feature bargain-priced seats which do not permit full view of the playing field.  Anyone who has sat behind a pillar in B Deck at Ohio Stadium understands the physics of the thing, but doesn't get a price break.

As we plunge ahead into the much-heralded era of "big data" there is some concern that the mountains of data before us might be obstructing the view of what's really important in our supply chain world.  The core issue becomes one of figuring out how to tunnel through the mountain to reach a clear view of what's on the other side.

Analysts can help, but only to the extent that they are savvy enough to throw away the data that doesn't show us what we need, and experienced enough to manipulate the remaining data to tell a story with meaning - to give the clear-eyed leader enough to go on in planning an organization's next strategic moves.

It is a challenge without an easy answer,  but one that we need to be mindful of.  Ultimately, we will be responsible for those next steps, whether we know enough or not, and whether what we "know" is relevant.

The Real Housewives Of Supply Chain Management

By Art van Bodegraven | 01/07/2013 | 8:28 AM

The Kid's 13-year old sister is no slouch, herself, in providing us with things in life to think about, not least the need for a time machine to fast-forward through the teen years.  She recently accosted her mother in a state of agitated righteousness regarding false advertising.

The essence of her complaint was that the "Real Housewives" shows were held together with a tissue of lies.  As evidence, she questioned, "How can they be called real when they all have so many obviously fake body parts?"

On TV, for those of you who may not be devotees of the genre, the real housewives seem to universally suffer from pouty lips, pendulous cleavage, perky whatever and the tender ministrations of a pool boy named Beau Tokks.  Sadly, we also have supply chain organizations that may not quite be all that they appear to be.

The misalignments are legion.  A supply chain structure with one leader that continues to foster siloed functional behavior.  A global reach that is only interested in low labor cost sourcing.  A cheerleader for best practices that still beats suppliers and service providers senseless in annual negotiations. An advocate of business transformation that force feeds new systems and altered processes to unengaged associates, who take it all in like Strasbourg geese until their livers engorge.  A relentless cost hunter that does not comprehend value contributions.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  It is one thing to say, quite another to do; one thing to profess, but distinctly different to execute; one thing to look good on the surface and from a distance, but not the same up close and personal when it is time to git 'er done.

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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