This posting is a continuation of our attendance at the Kinaxis 2012 Kinexions conference held in Scottsdale Arizona.  Readers can view previous commentaries by clicking on the web links below:

Commentary One

Commentary Two

Commentary Three


Lora Cecere of Supply Chain Insights LLC delivered an opening keynote highlighting some key findings from her recently published book, Why Bricks Matter. What was rather interesting was Lora’s opening statement: “I think that supply chains matter.”  We certainly thank Lora for reinforcing the name that this very blog assumed at our introduction in 2008, though we are not affiliated with Supply Chain Insights LLC.  It seems that more and more parties have adopted our banner and editorial purpose.

The essence of Lora’s research and charge to the audience was that the supply chain community has been telling “lies” for quite some time. These lies, according to Lora, relate to having described best practices, reducing inventory, and practicing deep collaboration, when in her opinion, the reality is otherwise.  Her further charge was that supply chain teams do not understand how to align to business outcomes. Lora concluded her address with summary recommendations.

Supply Chain Matters has highlighted some of the messages delivered, and candidly, we have not had an opportunity to review nor digest this new book. Lora can certainly communicate the essence of her messages on her blog and in other conference presentations. We will however share an observation.

Sometimes tough messages, supported by solid research and insights, should be delivered to a community.  Some of Lora’s observations have some credence.  Hard messages delivered with positive reinforcement draw-in an audience while scolding puts an audience on the defensive.  In our view, the collective supply chain community has been dealt with some fairly significant challenges these past few years, many of which have been successfully overcome.  Further, a Kinaxis assembled audience represents leading-edge adopters of advanced supply chain practices and decision-making capabilities.

As influencers, we need to always be cognizant that not all organizations have the time, opportunity, resources or leadership capabilities to overcome more comfortable, crowd-based industry norms. Learning comes from continual learning of what differentiates leaders and laggards in people, practice, measurement and tools. A teacher educates with patience, empathy and clearly articulated positive reinforcement.

Stay tuned for further commentary related to Kinexions 2012 including our summary impressions and takeway from this year’s event..

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: Kinaxis is one of other named sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters blog and has a business services relationship with The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group LLC. The views expressed on this blog are not at associated with Kinaxis but are independent views of the author.