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Disabled; Differently Abled; Different; Dynamite At Work . . .

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/02/2018 | 1:14 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 Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future.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.


We are making slow but steady headway in tapping in to an under-employed, under-used resource in the SCM workforce.  The breakthrough came in Walgreens distribution center in Anderson, SC.  A fresh approach there was to revise jobs to meet abilities, rather than redesigning tasks and processes to accommodate so-called disabilities.

So, as a consequence, folks with, for example, a stutter can find meaningful work in a field to which entry had previously been denied.  Or, people with a range of emotional challenges can have opportunities to perform at high levels.  Individuals across a spectrum of rates and degree of development can be part of a working team - and excel.

There are consequences.  Not only do the differently-abled workers work hard, based on prior experience, their absenteeism and turnover are significantly low.  In heartening developments, conventional workers also work hard, inspired by the performance of those witha variety of disabilities, their absenteism and turnover is low, as the disabled anspire an entire workforce across the board.

The process(es) involved are not easy. Design. Eliminating bias.  Learning to communicate without "Talking down".  Building mutual trust and confidence.  Displaying common courtesy, without over-compensating.  Finding appropriate tools and aids.

Learning the roles and rules.  LIke it or not, the Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect nearly twenty years ago.  Technically, you are exempt if you have fewer than fifteen employees.  As human beings - with a lot to gain from greater workforce resource utilization - keeping the spirit of ADA makes sense.

Now, you have added responsibilities under GINA to protect genetic information, as well.  Get appropriate training if and as you need it, and scour government sources for related information.

But, start with ADA - its rules and recommendations, and most of all, its intent.  It's another case of doing well by doing good.



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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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