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Archives for August 2017

Billionaires Get All The Good Lines

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/06/2017 | 2:04 PM

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 Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future.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.

 

Maybe it's not fair, but anyone with a net worth greater than a thousand million bucks has an easier time getting a quote in the New Amsterdam Times than you, me, or the lamp post. Of course, you and me would be in danger of falling and hitting our heads, without the support of the lamp post.

David Rockefeller (You recognize the name, right?), like other billionaires, is presumed to be wise, as well as filthy rich. Unlike some other mega-heirs, David has worked at a real job his entire life, and has been spectacularly successful at it. He has left passing out bushels of bucks to worthy causes to other family members, who apparently have been embarrassed by John D's life of work, relish for getting his hands dirty, and the creation of an entire industry (Esso/ExxonMobil, Standard OIl of Indiana, SOCONY, which joined hands with Mobil, Chevron, and Phillips.)

Maybe it's worth revisiting some of David's thoughts, marking his status as the world's oldest Bazillionaire.  Thanks to Forbes for uncovering the real man behind the curtain.

Simple principles: Profit is important; make money and friends; do business with friends; champion capitalism; work together with government; live within youir means; and, create soemthing that lasts.  The right last name opens doors; becoming a father provides new perspective; stand by your family; family can surprise the most; divorce and politics are expensive. Get out of the office, far out; embrace adventure; find a hobby; find a good teacher; and, live free of any regrets. The wrong last name closes doors; one boss is better than two; if you're upset, write your congressman; haters will hate; and, opposites do attract.

There's much to like — and agree with — in David's ruminations.  This is not a clan of evil trolls bent on world domination. Sorry to disappoint …

In our working world, the relevant lessons might be: success does not disqualify a person from being tough and smart; building a strong business on the strength of relationships just could be a more sustainable approach than arms'-length transactional deals, and family is important, nearly as powerful as friendships.

Late passing note: David passed away, at 101, on the first day of Spring — and is missed.

 

 

If It Don't Snap Your Neck, It Ain't Disruptive

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/04/2017 | 3:06 PM

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.

 

So happy to have another birthday to observe; each year becomes less of a sure bet …

The air is fllled with chatter about disruption — technology, processes, design, risks in the supply chain, mostly by people who think that interrupting Big Bang Theory with a storm warning qualifies. A couple of wake-up calls interrupted (disrupted?) my naps recently.

First, a highly-respected industry practitioner and observer (and a friend of some decades) has continued to view Walmart, technology, and globalization as disruptive forces in our SCM space. He has, with some vehemence, eschewed developments by Amazon as turn-you-upside-down-and-shake-until-the-coins-fall-out-of-your-pockets disruptions. His logic? Blimps and warehouses in the sky are (quasi-religious) hype.

I have news. Jeff Bezos does not blindly invest gazillions in smoke and mirrors. His visions might be tweaked in order to get off the ground, but he is chasing competitive advantage in both the PR wars and in SCM planning and execution. Making the kinds of incremental (kaizen) improvements that Walmart and others are shaving and shaping are refinements, not radical game-changers.

Moving on to another arena, let's consider automotive performance for a momnent. What if I told you that one high-end marque had perfected a vehicle that could do 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and hit 100 mph in less than 9 seconds? Meanwhile, it was chock-full of technology, including an all-wheel-drive system that supported near-perfect handling under a variety of (changing) road and environmental conditions.

Not impressed? How about if this all happened thirty years ago? It did, in the legendary and rare Porsche 959, which eclipsed the competing capability of others at the time. It remains rare enough still today.

So, with a few years in development, an overnight introduction turned an industry on its ear. Now, that's disruptive.

My point is that if the sudden onset and radical movement brought on by disruption doesn't snap you head back — or cause your air bags to spontaneously inflate — it's not sufficient to be called a disruption.

Accordingly, using new or adapted tools to analyze the Big Data that's always been sulking in the basement, or getting steadily better at pick acuracy, or mastering cross-docking challenges in a transient enviropnment, may all be good things.

But it is blimps, drones, and virtual warehouses using predictive analytics to stock and prepare for shipment that are truly disruptive.

One note of warning: What is disruptive today might become commonplace tomorrow. The advantage of being a disruption creator lies in the value to being the first to a practical market, gaining the edge, and knowing that the laggards will catch up sooner or later.

The disruption train is always running; once on, you have to hold on tight and reach farther out.

Happy Birthday To Me

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/02/2017 | 7:16 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.

 

As life's milestones are observed, I'll note that, in a couple of days, I'll be hitting the magic number of 78.

Rejoice, angels on high. The modern-day Lucifer remains among us. And, so it goes. There's no rationale for just hangin' around for this go-round.  

As an unrepentant pancreatic cancer conqueror, I've necessarily got to deal with the side effects of successful surgery to effect a cure. It's not as simple as a nip/tuck solution that time alone heals; my internal systems are a mess, with a spleen the size of a football, multiple diuretics that no longer function as intended, an interstate highway solution of a lymphatic system that apparently goes nowhere in particular, and an impressive collection of esophageal varices that require annual attention.

There's no warrantee that ensures I'll get to 79, or even 78.5. I've got a better-than-even shot at making 98, with plenty of tread wear left on the critical organs. But, the days of knocking back a cup of kindness from Australia or South Africa are over, taking mileage off the biological odometer. These days, I'm knocking back mostly Fiji water, and am in the process of cheating death in another arena. With visits to the ER a primary entertainment, I can scarcely wait for the next chapter in my personal Book of Life to open up.

It'd be nice to drive, once again, and do the teaching/training project design thing. Until that day, I'll have to be content with writing and rousing the rabble.  Be prepared to get roused …

 

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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