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BFFs, Bromances, And Building The Future

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/04/2016 | 3:08 PM

I've written and talked extensively about the power of relationships, and their fragility, even when there's been a rock-solid foundation. So it was with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, who together went camping, presumably burnt s'mores, and bought up half of Florida - all based on the dominance of Harvey's tires on Henry's cars.  It all crashed and burned after Bridgestone bought Firestone, and Ford Explorers persisted in falling down a few years ago.

But, Harvey was way more than a tire guy, an appendage on Henry's mighty economic engine.  He pioneered humane treatment of workers in wages, benefits, and working conditions - considerably ahead of his time.

We could argue that he was one of the godfathers of contemporary supply chains.  His pneumatic tires spurred the development of decent highways, which repladed those that could handle solid rubber, even if not all that well.  More importantly, he developed tires that made truck transport feasible, providing a reasonable and flexible alternative to rail - and rendering a good highway network mandatory.  We build and rebuild on his creation to this day.

Harvey's true legacy may be forgotten, but not gone.  But, his contribution to American prosperity is lasting, and should not be denied.

It's not easy to remember that his famous tire brand was not what defined his greatness.




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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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