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The Wearin' O' The Green

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/24/2014 | 9:24 AM

Yes, St. Patrick's Day was more than two months ago, but . . .

No worries, I am not going to invoke Riverdance or Celtic Woman.  Nor even dredge up some insignificant factoid about the ould sod's patron saint.

This past Monday I had the rare opportunity to talk with The Kid's 4th grade class on the school's Career Day.  The topic?  Supply Chain Management, natch.  It is never too early to start recruiting into the talent pipeline.

Using technology products as general examples (they all have iPhones, iPads, Samsung Galaxies, PS4s, or  xboxs (Wii is SO last century), I went through the planning and operational challenges of global supply chains and local markets, ending with the (made-up) discovery that nearly a million pale green smart phones were in inventory and not selling.  What to do, I asked.

It was a retorical question, but one brave lad raised his hand and blurted out, "I know!  Send them to Ireland!"  Honest, you can't make this stuff up.  And, it is bad form to laugh aloud.

Amusing as the scenario might appear on the surface, it illustrates a dynamite quality that every supply chain manager ought to think about.

Faced with an immediate problem (not a challenge and opportunity, but a problem), little Ethan analysed the situation, and with the knowledge and experience at hand, made a decision for action.

We might snicker, or with the advantage of age and experience suggest other options.  But, be honest, how good are we, in general, at analyzing and dithering, and finger-pointing before approaching and implementing solutions?  How often are our well-considered alternatives too little and too late?

Think about Ethan.  Git 'er done, and move on to the really important business imperatives.

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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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