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How Many Wheels Does A Bicycle Need?

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/11/2013 | 9:46 AM

You and I might think that two would be sufficient.  The Kid has other ideas.  He lived, as a very young child, in a neighborhood in which it was not safe for little boys and girls to pass through unattended.  As a consequence, his bike riding skills have not been developed.

A recent attempt to get him up on a two-wheeler occasioned an impassioned outburst, to wit: "What?! Are you trying to kill me.  That thing has only two wheels; I'll fall and run over myself!"

We had a couple of choices: get annoyed, force him up, find an alternative, or live with it.  But, the more we thought about it, the more sense his position made. He saw the short-term risks involved in doing something he'd never done before, and was looking for ways to reduce or eliminate the possibility of a bad outcome.

In his mind, a third wheel would have brought considerable comfort to the adventure.  And, four wheels, even mini training wheels, would have brought stability and a modicum of safety - and confidence.

We need to think about that third wheel in our supply chain activities.  Once we've ridden the bike a hundred times, the safety factor can confidently be dialed down.  Until then, built-in front-end risk management makes all the sense in the world.  nd, we, time after time, forget that veary basic message.

Take your thinking back to the beginning.  Consider the value of three or four wheels the first few times out.  It's a small investment, an effective risk mitigator, and the foundation of confident ventures into new arenas.  And, thank The Kid for setting a wise example.

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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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