Archives for August 2013

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Family Tree

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/26/2013 | 7:38 AM

For those of you burdened by a real job and pressing responsibilities who may have missed seeing the brilliant product of Christopher Guest's twisted mind on HBO, give yourself a second chance - now.  Family Tree is the best comedy in a long, long time (Seinfeld included).  The eight-part adventure is fall on the floor, tears streaming down your face funny.  And, Episode Two is the most wicked hilarious twenty minutes in the history of television.  Ever.

So, grab a bowl of Orville Redenbacher's finest, and a bucket of your favorite artisanal IPA, to settle in with HBO Go or On Demand for an evening of Family Tree marathon.  You might want to watch Episode Two a couple of times, so don't overplan the time commitment.

The show did get me to thinking about trees and relationships in other spheres.  There are trees of football coaches, for example, with Air Coryell influencing generations of head coaches and assistants in the NFL.  The lines are more clear and longer in basketball.  Bobby Knight, to name one, made it his business to rope in Henry Iba and Claire Bee as mentors early in his coaching career, which put him in a direct line of succession from James Naismith, who invented the game.  Knight, in turn, created Duke's Coach K, who then influenced Harvard's Tommy Amaker.  Where will it all end?  Or, will the circle stay unbroken?

We have similar paths of influence and impact in the supply chain community.  The godfather of godfathers in academia was Michigan State's late Don Bowersox, who taught the earliest generation of pioneers, who then went on to create their own branches on the tree, notably including Ohio Satte's Bud LaLonde.  And, Don's progeny have gone on to strong practitioner roles in our professional community.

The practitioner community teems with the products of Bowersox, LaLonde, Penn State's John Coyle, and a few others.  But, a notable practitioner collective has also developed from the Nabisco Mafia roots established by Joe Andraski.  Its alumni are seemingly everywhere, and have gone on to infiltrate all manner of supply chain constructs in a vast array of industry verticals.

So, take a minute to think about how the branch you are sitting on connects to one of the trees that define who we are and how we got here.  And, go back to watch Episode Two one more time.

Does Appearance Matter?

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/20/2013 | 8:51 AM

So, we visited my mother over the past weekend.  During lunch, a fellow-resident stopped by her table to ask her, "Oh, is this your brother?"  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  Crying won.  My mother is a rising 101-year old.  I suppose the question represents progress.  She was once asked if I were her new husband.

Clearly, some number of rational people perceive mw to be quite close to her in age.  Is it past time for Botox?  Should I be thinking about a Lifestyle Lift?  I didn't like Debby Boone thirty-five years ago, and I am disinclined to share that, or any other, experience with her.  Appearance, apparently, does matter, though.

As much as I might carry on about the importance of substance and materiality in what we do, and how we do it, in our supply chain professional lives, very few will allow themselves to appreciate our potential for significant contributions unless we can get past the first impression made by appearance.

Yes, in a blow to the intellectually superior, superficialities are important, even vital.  How we dress, whether remnants of breakfast cling to our shirts, grooming, weight, and basic hygiene are all first signs that make instantaneous impressions, for good or for ill.

Energy, physical attributes, ease and clarity of oral communications, and an air of confidence all reinforce the first wave of impressions, and can continue perceptions of capability and credibility, eith positive or negative, going forward.

But, it's a hand-in-glove situation.  Appearance alone will be quickly debunked, while content alone may not get us through the first door.  We, as professionals, must have both for acceptance, and continued development and progress.

Now, where's that Lifestyle Lift web site again?  

Man=Handled Without Gloves; Ure=Not Mine

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/14/2013 | 8:38 AM

We took the wee bairns (los Colombianos) to the cultural triumph that is the Ohio State Fair a couple of weeks ago.  I could have made a fortune peddling "Wide Load" signs to the mob of substantial human beings in attendance.

Our lads' impressions were difficult to guage.  They clearly preferred funnel cakes to the fabulous butter cow, but were otherwise somewhat subdued.  Later we discovered that they couldn't stop talking about the fair once they got home, and we were stunned to learn that the favorite animals of both were the cows.

It seemed that an animal's popularity was in direct correlation with the amount of manure the beast produced.  What we had interpreted as a lack of enthusiasm was actually a stunned state of awe.  The cows were clear winners, even without factoring in bnonus points for methane gas.  Horses were an interesting, but distant, second, and the sheep were very feeble entrants in the excreta sweepstakes.

We should not have been surprised; this fascination with natural purification is a human attribute that transcends fairs and animals.  Think, for a moment, about logistics and supply chain management.

Each new concept, tool, technique, or information  application seems to enjoy popularity - even fervor - in direct proportion to the amount of manure that accompanies its introduction.  To be fair, sometimes the excess being applied is benign, and merely premature.  In other cases, it gives "icing on the cake" a whole new meaning.

Part of our challenge, and responsibility, as supply chain professionals is to not be mindless cheerleaders, and to thoroughly work through the effluvium before declaring that there is, in fact, a pony inside there.

Happy scraping, fellow seekers!

Mind The Gap, Redux

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/08/2013 | 1:13 PM

The gap in question is more than a mere crevice; it is a chasm.  Flooded with nuance and shifting complexities, I am facing the challenges of generational gaps that have plagued humankind in peace, war, work, play, and familial interplay since the first glimmer of recorded history (and probably before).   History and literature are replete with references to the shortcomings of the rising generation, and to the angst engendered in the young under the oppressive thumb of the older crowd.

In a workshop a couple of weeks ago, I unwittingly let the dogs out with an innocent reference to Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, which I called a "parlor game."  Turns out that no one knew what a parlor is, and judging by the gob-smacked looks around the room, the audience thought that Kevin might be a viral competitor for Oscar Mayer.

My bad.  Hoping to joke my way ouit of the gaffe, I remarked that I needed to be excused, as Matthew Brady was waiting outside to photograph me with President Lincoln.  Apparently, the majority thought that Brady might be an NFL quarterback, and only two had any idea that there had once been a President Lincoln.

So, not only am I old and out of touch, I may be, in the eyes of some, plain crazy.

While I would like to suggest that it might be useful for the Millennials to learn some history, and value the perspectives that come from having lived it, there is an onus on the Baby Boomers (and older) as well.  We do need to understand more about the rising crop of workers, leaders, bright young performers, and budding superstars.  What motivates them, how they learn, where they turn for direction, how they judge progress and accomplishment - things like that.

And, while we can't all be jumping on every new tool and technique that pops up we do need to be aware of the basics of their world.  You don't have to be constantly tweeting to know about Twitter, and roughly how it works.  Don't be confusing Facebook and MySpace, and make reference to MyFace.  You don't have to be interested to know what Pinterest is, and how people use it.

Try some technology, even if you only get to a few basic tasks.  It couldn't hurt, and it might lead somewhere.  But don't be a phony, and try to use what you think might be current in conversation and communications.  It's sad to see someone of a certain age peppering the dialogue with leftover LOLs.  LMFAO.

And, forget about Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  His last outing (The Following) was a bust, anyway.

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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