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Supply Chain Complexity And The Art Of Survival

By Art van Bodegraven | 02/25/2018 | 12:55 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 Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future.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.


Turning for a moment to Gentleman Jack, consider how butt-ugly supply chains are.  The complexities involved are in global reach, and must account for world events.  

What we have to deal with, at macro and micro-levels, are: accomodating insane customers and demands; globalized operations and relationships; supplier intricacies relative to the business; and cosmic trends in globalization and operations that account for increasingly incoherent behaviors.

Our challenges become how we lead this hot mess, and where details address those primary sources of SC complexity.

First, avoid complexity as a leading tactic for managing trickeration.

Second, seek and find good working partners - 3 PLs, suppliers, and advisors.  Third, invest in technology - applications, tools, data management, and automation.

4th, build and maintain flexible workforces, with multi-skills, cross training, creative acquisition, and retention. 5th, learn how to collaborate with suppliers, building trust, sharing results, and creating mutual value.  6th, get the right people in the room, at the right times.  Populate the resources with intelligent, high EQ leaders; shoot the managers.

Finally, 7th, link global and business issues, and build sourcing and procurement around them.

Okay, supply chains are complex, but living with them can be straightforward - if you've kept your wits about you.



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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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