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Putting The Cart Before The Horse: Does It Make Cleaning Up After The Horse Any Easier?

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/23/2017 | 9:56 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.


It seems senseless to talk about carts and horses in an age of Teslas, Google self-driving cars, driverless Uber pickups, consumer-level Fords that control themselves, and various forms of autonomous vehicles.  Nevertheless, the phrase remains in the idiom.

In a somewhat related development, I'll note that ERP is not the sound of over-indulging in turkey stuffing and cranberry jelly.

However, the esteemed journal of the green eyeshade brigade, CFO magazine has recently featured and promoted a webinar that only a debits and credits maven could get excited about.  And, in stereotypical fashion, the theme was buried in dense prose and backassward logic, lauding ERP as the key to unlocking global expansion and success.  My takeaway was that following the horse with the cart was only sensible in theory - the cart wouldn't really do the cleaning up.

Seems to me that, getting the cart and horse in a practical sequence would require a ton of prep work, such as sourcing, building supplier relationships, constructing risk management tactics and techniques, understanding products and markets, and having a set of strategies laid out for execution and tracking, for example.

If all that plays out in a good way, then an enterprise might begin to consider how the functionality and implementation of an ERP could enable super-charging the core strategies.  Now we've got the cart and horse aligned, even if the horse still requires cleaning up after - a small price to pay for the exercise of good sense.



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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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