Jack Uldrich
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The Future of Supply Chain Management

Posted in Manufacturing

This past weekend I finished reading “Flowers for Algernon”—which was made into the 1968 movie “Charly” with Cliff Robertson. The basic premise of the book is that a retarded man undergoes an experiment and it provides him with superior intelligence for a short period of time.

At one point near the height of his intelligence Charly writes: “Strange about learning; the farther I go the more I see that I never knew even existed. A short while ago I foolishly thought I could learn everything–all the knowledge in the world. Now I hope only to be able to know of its existence, and to understand one grain of it.”

I am in the midst of preparing for a keynote presentation on “the future of supply chain management” and I was reminded of the passage because I stumbled across this front page article in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled ”Clarity is Missing Link in Supply Chain.”

I especially liked this quote from one executive who said when dealing with wildly inaccurate forecasts, “You actually had to pick a number with no knowledge whatsoever, because nobody knows anything.” (The emphasis is mine—nobody knows anything!”)

The quote highlights to me the need for professionals in the supply chain management business to—like Charly—first acknowledge how little they actually know. Once they do this they then at least open themselves up to the possibility for both the incremental and the radical advances that might benefit their profession.

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