The Shipping Supply Chain Management Solution For 2020s

Shipping Supply Chain


The Shipping Supply Chain Management Solution For 2020s

The Shipping Supply Chain Management Solution For 2020s

My sabbatical from writing blogs over the past few weeks has been interrupted.

Besides my day job of consulting, I was focusing on finishing my second book “Know When to Outsource, and How to Do

It Well: Outsmart, Outprofit, Outsource”. However, after reading a Harvard Business Review blog,

Why Is Supply Chain Management So Famous?

I feel compelled to jot down my thoughts because of the deleterious nature of the advice from some very high quarters..

The name of this HBR blog is Managing People on a Sinking Ship and it is based on research from two professors at Harvard and Michigan.

From my observation after many years of working as a business transformation consultant for CEOs and executives,

by the time many companies acknowledge they have a problem serious enough to demand the attention of highly paid experts, generally it is far too late.

Such cases are akin to bringing patients to doctors in the terminal stage of cancer.

While our team conducts a fact-based diagnostic, and figures out the best way of turning around the situation,

Most Effective Ways To Overcome Supply Chain Management’s Problem.

I have always wondered what kept them from engaging our services earlier. The HBR blog gave me one of the possible answers.

They possibly were following the advice of business school professors who wrote

“Managing People on Sinking Ships” without having been on a ship, let alone managing a sinking ship.

I will talk about my experience of literally building a cement box to save a sinking ship in the freezing waters of British Columbia (Canada) in a later blog.

Here I will confine my discussion to my experience in saving companies who were leaking money profusely due to

supply networks that were poorly aligned with their business strategies and Shipping Supply Chain bonds.

I find the title of the blog impractical, if not ludicrous – Managing People on a Sinking Ship.

Everything You Need To Know About Supply Chain Management.

When a ship is sinking you have no time to think about people.

The time to think about people was when you first got on the ship – to make sure you have the right people on your ship, and the wrong people off your ship.

I know it is heresy to say in the modern management circles that people do not matter.

Thus, let me paint a picture not much different from what I actually encountered in the freezing waters off Canada.

You are merrily navigating the ship when suddenly the bow of your ship starts dipping more and more into the water to an extent that

The ship takes a pronounced trim to the forward and list to the starboard.

She starts shipping water over the forecastle, and you are not even sure whether in the next wave the forecastle will come back up or split apart due to shearing forces.

Now, in a situation like this, if you are standing on the bridge of the ship, will you worry about managing the people,

or call your chief officer and the chippy (deck fitter) and ask them to sound the tanks to find out which tanks are breached first?

If you follow the advice of the professors, you will give your team a larger purpose.

You will provide reasonable incentives, show people they matter as individuals and perhaps even do a culture survey on the ship and give a motivating speech to

“keep people enthused, engaged, and working hard when they know the company may not be around.”

However, in a real life crisis, you will forget almost all of the advice from the good professors,

and focus on finding out where the ship’s hull is breached, and how big is the damage, working closely with the right experts, internal and external.

In our case, we had to enlist the help of outside divers and underwater welders as those skills were not available in the ship’s company and Shipping Supply Chain bonds.

In addition, we needed a whole raft of equipment, ranging from steel plates to concrete mixers, cement and of course very thick wet-suits.

Does that mean that the people do not matter? Quite the contrary. The sea is a challenging work environment, as is the modern commercial world.

Selecting the right people, training them repeatedly, and motivating them through authentic capability based leadership is a priority before you set sail,

as well as in routine navigation.

Crisis situations, by definition, leave no time for these routine leadership tasks.

Your sole focus during the crisis will be on the hole in the ship’s hull and plugging it.

If you are worrying about anything else, you are not only endangering the lives under your care,

but also putting at risk cargo worth several millions of dollars and perhaps creating an environmental disaster with oil strewn beaches.

You would have prepared your team well before the crisis strikes on how to respond.

That is the reason why we did lifeboat drills and firefighting drills every two weeks at sea.

Similarly, if your company is sinking, the first priority is to find out where the figurative holes are.

The second priority is to work with the right team of experts (internal and external experts) to plug the holes.

Once the situation is estabilised and the cash leak has stopped, then the team must be acknowledged and thanked profusely.

Next, it is time to work out a long term plan to not only repair the ship but also ensure it will not sink.

If you doubt my advice, ask any sea captain, serving or retired, – what to do when the ship is sinking.

There are thousands of us on the face of earth, find and show any of them the blog I am talking about. See how many of them agree with it

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Our Quick Notes On Five Flows Of Supply Chain Management

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Today, Vivek and his partners are among 20-30 people on the planet earth who have this deep understanding of supply chain systems, practices and tools. CEOs, COOs, executives and Boards call them in most challenging situations once they know the full potential of supply chain based transformations. Following are key milestones in Vivek's journey:

1. Started in 1983 as a merchant navy cadet at 18 years age, worked his way to qualify as a Captain - qualified to take command of any merchant ship, worldwide.

2. Earned a top tier MBA from UNSW at the top of his class.

3. Joined highly regarded strategy consulting firm Booz Allen & Hamilton, consulting to the CEOs, Boards and senior management of global corporations within Australia.

4. To learn and specialise in supply chain - against all odds, sought out the co-inventor of supply chain in Germany and convinced him to be a partner in his firm, GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN GROUP, launched in January 2000.

5. More than 500 successful blue chip projects with high impact business transformations in large corporations using the full power of SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT.

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The trend of outsourcing continues to grow unabated with the whole gamut of services, from simple to mission-critical tasks. There is not a single company on earth that does not outsource anything. It is not just about cost arbitrage, it is also a finer expression of division of labour at the organisational level. Like all leverage, outsourcing is a double-edged sword too. On one hand, it allows you to do more, faster. On the other hand, if it goes bad, it can easily kill your business. If you do not believe that is possible – you can google the Fox Meyer saga from the 90s and see for yourself.



Businesses Are Chained By Unseen Chains. If You Are Looking For Ways To “Unchain Your Corporation” A Successful Business Transformation Is Required.

Successful Business Transformations Are Difficult, Yet Rewarding.

Business Transformation Is Fast Becoming A Question Of Survival In The Modern Globalised Era.

Modern Supply Chains Integrate Businesses And Economies Faster By Systematic Information Sharing From Internal And External Sources.

Companies Can Multiply Profits By Progressively Ramping Up Cohesion And Collaboration Of All Moving Parts In B2B Network To Achieve Tighter Integration.



It is generally accepted that environmental consciousness is now changing to environmental proactiveness as organizations are discovering that it makes good commercial sense.

Boards are asking the management to review their policies related to environmental norms, not only to bolster their corporate social responsibility aims, but also because consumers are asking for greener supply chains.

It is also widely agreed that consumers will increasingly prefer to buy more and even pay more for products or services provided in an environmentally sound manner.