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  • John Melbye

Season One, Episode One

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Where it all began.


What is it that makes something a Supply Chain? Is it simply viewpoint? Everywhere I look I see supply chain. The computer I use, the chair I sit in, the painting on my wall, the books on my shelf, all came into being and then to me via some facet of a Supply Chain.


I am reminded of a story that was told when I was younger. When kids were asked, “Where does milk come from?” The reply, “It comes from the store, silly!” But when you look at the full picture, it comes from much farther and a much more complex journey than “from the store.”


“Supply Chains are all around us."

We are all deeply affected by supply chains. Without Supply Chains, we would be devastated as a species (my personal statement). And yet everywhere I go people ask me, “What is a Supply Chain?”


Which got me to thinking,

“ What ISN’T a supply chain? ”

And thus, SupplyChainIllustrated was born (or hatched, if you prefer).


So, what is SupplyChainIllustrated? It’s my attempt to build some structure around my answer to the question, “What is Supply Chain?” And it is a vehicle for me to release some of the ideas and visions and thoughts that I have that are related to Supply Chain. And, it’s a fun, discussion-generating portal for me to engage other professionals while I continue pursuing my passion.


It is also an attempt, as the name implies, to illustrate the complexities of supply chain in the world in which we live and the impact of choices and decisions on supply chain and thus, on business success.


Everything that we know is based on the past. But everything we have yet to do is in the future. The past is not a predictor of the future. This means that we must develop a curiosity and a learning culture, because the problems that we will encounter may not have been seen before.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows and the number and type of devices outpaces our ability to keep track of them, we need to be able to understand their impact and their benefits, while also understanding the risks and implications.


As new technology arrives on the scene, companies will need to focus on what new kinds of jobs will be required. As we consider driverless trucks, for example, we should recognize that we have not yet invented Self-Unloading trucks. How do you tell a driverless truck to “back into dock door 3”? The monitoring requirements, technology jobs, to keep the trucks routed properly, maintain load temperatures, verify fuel status and a host of other things that I can’t yet imagine will require retraining of the workforce in many cases.


There will continue to be disruptors; new ideas and technology that changes our paradigms and forces us to adapt to new situations. Are we ready? Keep an eye on Supply Chain Illustrated and let’s make this journey together.


John Melbye, Supply Chain Educator at Become Demand Driven

Follow me on LinkedIn or send me an email with your thoughts.

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