Archives for May 2017

No Surprise, Sherlock!

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/10/2017 | 2:58 PM

There's a more pungent form of this expression, but in a sensitive business publication, we'll skip ahead to the main point.  The insightful Steve Melnyk, in a late 2016 issue of Supply Chain Management Review, cites a Deloitte study from CIO Journal that reaches some "well, duh!" conclusions that I've been beating 'round the head and shoulders for a few years now.

In short, a clear minority of current leaders fall woefully short of capability in elements of new-century leadership - and they are all expected to become more critical in the coming years.  Translation: We are in deep kimchee as global supply chains compete more vigorously, Trumpian trade policies aside.

Today's "leaders" are largely managers, living off past glories of functional focus, cost obsession, velvet glove/iron fist discipline, and inward focus on metrics and performance - along with being risk averse and frustrated by complexity, and not really liking clients/customers all that much.

New century leaders are more likely to be authentic leaders, more effective communicators, outwardly focused, accepting of complexity (but not necessarily complication), strong customer ties, concentrating on operational performance rather than soley on cost, strategic thinkers with links and driver of corporate direction, collaborators, champions of diversity, and comfortable multi-cultural global players.

Are you ready?  What are you doing to get ready - and snare the right resources for the future, now?

The Cobra Takes On The Mongoose - And Wins

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/07/2017 | 9:33 AM

When we were young, and in our salad days, fresh and green, many of us wanted to be Don Prudhomme, legendary as "The Snake".  We weren't afraid to drag race, whether on a deserted road or on a track.  As Don reminded us, drag racing wasn't about the money; there was no money in it.

The Snake was so-called, niot because of a personality disorder, but because of his cobra-like reflexes.  How was ready to take on whatever and whoever was the next mongoose up.  At the end of the day, The Snake wanted only to win.

And, win he did, hating beyond words finishing second to anyone and anything.  That driving force propelled him into legendary status while he was barely out of his teens, and he won 389 out of 589 races, a gasket blowing, piston throwing, 66 per cent.  In as close to perfection as it gets, Don won 13 out of 16 NHRA events some 40-odd years ago.

His farewell tour, The Snake won 3 NHRA races and finished second in points.  Not a bad way to say "good-bye".

Maybe you don't do a 7-second quarter mile.  But, we can - and do - expect high levels of performance every time out.

So, is your supply chain consistantly excellent?  Do you get the mongoose, or does the mongoose get you?

Do you play the game for the thrill of winning, or for the money?

Union Station Isn't Closed; It's Just Not Open Today

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/05/2017 | 8:11 AM

Alison Krauss and her usual band are still together, but they don't always perform everything together.  Windy City, just released in February, is her 5th solo album.  And words, again, fail any attempt to convey the wonder that Alison brings to our lives.

She, with her voice alone, will make you believe in angels.  That Union Station generally brings the equivalent of harps to accompany her is a bonus beyond measure, they being the tightest bluegrass band in the game.

As is most often the case, Ms. Krauss is not singing songs she has written.  Her thing is bringing new life to the works of others from several musical genres.  

In one case, she was credited with single-handedly reviving the entire bluegrass movement.  Her interpretations that informed the story line of the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou, were and are translucent and transporting.  "Bring a tear" hardly begins to describe her powers.

It's ironic.  Primarily an instrumentalist, she gained and retains recognition as a vocalist beyond any normal comparison.  The talent maldistribution involved is simply not fair - but uplifts us all.  And, she did not form Union Station; the band was already in business with both feet, and invited her to join.  Happily, she said "yes".

And, happily, she continues to outshine the stars of previous outings, leaving all the rest of us to sit in gob-smacked shock and awe.

I could die happy with Emmy Lou Harris holding one hand, and Alison Krauss the other.  Rich and robust fantasies do not die easily.

In our workplace, the message may be that it is not necessary to create or invent disruptive processes, products, and practices.  Just maybe, building from, tweaking, someone else's original concept can pay off in performance, cost, and customer delight.  But, you've got to do that right, and do it well to pull it off.

Meanwhile, take inspiration and comfort from the magic that Alison Krauss brings to us from another universe.

Don't Teach The Peasants Latin

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/03/2017 | 9:08 AM

Not unless you want them to interpret the Bible on their own.  Then how will we know who should be priests and who should be farmers?

The supply chain management parallel lies in the arcane universe of Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP).  Virtually all the great thinkers assign roles to supply chain priests that parcels out roles in integrated S&OP exercises, the annual rite of exalted combined planning.

But, as MIT's Larry Lapide perceptively asks, what is the role of supply execution specialists - the people responsible for actually doing the work?  A working level of S&OP is more than a collection of integrated perspectives; it is a linchpin connecting strategy and vision to execution, to operations.

Dr. Lapide, whom I've known for years in our work together with Georgia Tech, has imposed an orderly structure on the execution framework for S&OP, an intelligent design for accomplishment, in his regular column in Supply Chain Management Review.

It's the equivalent of teaching Latin to laborers; the mysteries of S&OP have been revealed to the masses.

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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