Archives for February 2013

Unclear On The Concept . . .

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/26/2013 | 8:49 AM

The Kid, as we know, has his moments.  He is, in his spare time, the Court Jester in a mixed religion family, but is easily thrown off when the dates of familiar holidays don't quite sync up.

A couple of months ago, he was in a real quandary, deeply concerned that candles had not been lit. He was more than a little accusatory when he demanded to know "Are we not having Harmonica this year?"

Well, Harmonica was observed, and confirmed our suspicions that The Kid was far more interested in the traditional gelt than in the inspirational story of the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil.

Our takeaway for The Kid was that, for all things - festivals, miracles, supply chain planning and execution, and the results of continuous improvement - there is a time and a season.  The gelt will be there when it is supposed to be, neither before nor after.

We Like Short Shorts

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/18/2013 | 7:25 AM

Didn't and don't we all, both now and in the day?  Bob Gaudio's 1958 mega-hit resonated with our hormonally-fueled fantasies, and he went on from his fifteen minutes of Royal Teens fame to decades of success with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.  In another venue, short shorts were the favored - the only - attire of basketball players in the day of the two-handed set shot and  a 16-team NCAA tournament.

Let me pose this question to you.  Would you suit up for a game today in short shorts?  Or, would you strap on a leather helmet for a football game?  Of course not.

So, why are you trying to do a 21st-century supply chain management job with thirty and forty-year old tools and concepts?  Why aren't you designing new kinds of shoes, and uniforms that facilitate movement, reduce weight, manage moisture, and improve safety to advance how the game is played?

Or, engineering new processes, applying new concepts, and leveraging technology to create effective and continuously improving supply chains?

The Power Of Education

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/12/2013 | 11:22 AM

The Kid's sister, when a precocious four-year old, sat playing on the floor as the rest of us watched The Ohio State University's football team embarrass the Michigan Wolverines.  As the Buckeyes huddled before the next play she looked up and observed, "I think they're planning something."  Pretty astute to deduce - at the age of four - the core of a situation from a brief glance.

What happens, I wonder, to the level of pure and uninformed insight that so many children seem to come fully equipped with?  Do we educate it out of them in traditional approaches to "official" education?  Is tuition the cost of killing intuition?

I don't know, but I do know that a fanatic devotion to facts and data alone represents a loss, and incomplete view of any situation.  I would never recommend, though, that we all make decsisions only by the seats of our pants. 

 But, informing data with intuition, and using intuitive skills when there are not enough facts available for complete assurance seem to be the right approaches for more nuanced, robust, and creative tactics and strategies in supply chain - and general business - applications.

Can we regain lost skills in insight and grasps on intuitive concepts?  Science and experience say "yes", but there's hard work and practice, practice, practice involved.  Is everyone hard-wired to be able to do so?  Sadly, no.  But those who aren't can be persuaded to listen to those who are.

The New Era Of Relationships And Collaboration

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/04/2013 | 8:16 AM

Today, Sra. vB and I are observing forty-six years of marriage - to each other, and without benefit of pre-nup.  Four children, six grandchildren, seven dogs, seven homes, and enough autos to bail out all of the Big Three, we have stayed the course by following a few simple precepts

Possibly, these are useful in supply chain relationhips, as well.  First, stay the course.  The fan is always on, and occasionally something will hit it.  Second, adapt.  Things will change, often with litle warning.

Fourth, remember that both parties expect to, and are supposed to, win.  Creating a loser weakens the fabric of an alliance.  Third, recognize and respect the unique strenghs that each partner brings to the united front.

In our case, those are that: 1) I know everything in the world, and 2) she is always right.  Hint:  Carry a little card that reminds you that #2 trumps #1 in the event of dissonance.

Maybe these won't get you to a forty-six year business relationship, but they are almost sure to get you past the three-year mark.

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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