Archives for June 2013

Weaders And Fowwowers

By Art van Bodegraven | 06/28/2013 | 11:38 AM

Our Basic Training column in DC Velocity that dealt with leaders and pretenders struck some sensitive nerve ends, and generated more comment than is usually the case at that very fine publication.  As it turns out, the 4-year old, who is still struggling a bit with consonants, aspires to what he calls being a "weader" in pre-school.  He especially treasures being periodically being named Line Leader, or wine weader in his lexicon.  It is not easy to tell when he envies book weaders, given his over-arching hankering for weading people.

We hope he grows to understand the deeper meanings and responsibilities of genuine weadership - and he does show signs of a maturing understanding.

Sadly, too many grown-ups never progress beyond a juvenile appreciation of being appointed to a position of power as being the same thing as being a leader.  We wish them succcess in standing at the head of the line, and would remind them of the value of periodically turning to look back to see if the rest of the wine is actually fowwowing them.

Given our general - and generally well-placed - mistrust of managers, and our enthusiasm for authentic leaders, there is every chance that there's not enough line left to mount much of a, metaphorically speaking, charge.  And, a sufficiency of wine is no substitute for a missing line.

A Brother From Another Mother?

By Art van Bodegraven | 06/22/2013 | 8:34 AM

The Kid's sister was riding in the front seat, while her mother encouraged getting together with Jonah to work on a school issue.  Reluctantly, the big sister staked out a position, as in, "You mean, like, hang out?  But, he's like a brother to me!"

The mortally wounded and not-quite-understanding Kid cried out from the back seat, "I am insulted!  You don't even treat me like a brother!  How can you treat nearly a stranger like a brother?"

At moments like these, we try not to snicker too obviously, but, as usual, The Kid is on to something that makes sense in both his world and ours.

How often do we treat a new customer - or even a mere prospect - as a long-lost, separated-at-birth member of the family?  When such a target pops up, all the energy that used to go into existing relationships gets sucked out of the room.  And, we take the established customers for granted, or worse, treat them like lepers in an otherwise wonderful world.

We do similar things in the name of establishing alternative supply sources, embracing the latest Total Cost of Ownership love interest, while cutting the established provider no slack when things begin to threaten going South on us.

What happens when we put seductive moves on the 3PL du jour and kick the supply chain partner that has given all to us to the curb is too brutal to examine in detail.

But, we do, in all dimensions of our supply chain business relationships, need to think about what it means to treat our brothers like brothers, even - or especially - in periods of evolution and change, not to mention upon the arrival of other brothers.

The Great Pharma Heist of 2013

By Art van Bodegraven | 06/11/2013 | 6:52 AM

Details are murky, but fragmentary evidence points to a 40 teu container from somewhere in Asia that went missing after arrival in the US.  The contents?  Harmless-loooking, but powerful, stupid pills. 

The current political administration does not need this.  International trade relationships don't need this, either.  Fragile diplomatic ties can only suffer in the short term, even if our longer-term decline appears to be in someone else's best interests.  And, a public panic would do no one but our enemies any good.

Accordingly, media of all types are being very quiet while authorities try to determine the drugs' origin and whether they have been introduced into the water supply, or are being sold in under-the-radar quantities on the street, or on Craig's List.  (One would not think, in an age of crystal meth and high-potency weed, that even more mind-altering substances would be in great demand.  One would, once again, be mistaken.)

We see evidence of the looming epidemic all about us.  The first signs were observed while wading in the shallow end of the gene pool and examining the size and behaviors of state fair attendees.  That same crowd has apparently taken over major zoological gardens, judging by all appearances.  And, somewhat like the progression of the emerald ash borer, intial sightings are multiplying at major passenger airports.

So, in the population at large (pun intended) poor decision-making, unseemly public behavior, and moving their lips while reading month-old copies of Bow Hunter Babes  are becoming norms.

There is also evidence in segments of the population that one might not imagine to be carriers of the condition, or users of the substance.  Newly-minted supply chain professionals who are struggling to find jobs  - or jobs suitable for their elevated educational status attempt to jump-start their careers by obtaining Master's degrees.  When that does not pay off in the first month, they turn to certification programs as evidence of superior qualities and justification for employment in a field in which they have virtually no working experience.

At another end of the spectrum, individuals who have been executing routine, essentially clerical, supply chain tasks for decades have become embittered that they are not immediate candidates for big jobs, now that we are entering a supply chain Golden Age.  And, they can become embarrassingly vocal in expressing the misguided notion that what we now call supply chain management has not really changed in thirty years, despite the high-falutin' concepts promoted by over-educated twits.

I'm telling you, we have got to get to the root of the stupid pill problem, wipe it out, and realign our professional community around evolving realities.  I'm  not sure how to get at the group that is still searching for conspiracy theories in the death of Princess Diana.


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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