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On Demand News: 09/13/18

OnDemand Supply Chain News - The Transformation Club: To transform transportation and inventory, think beyond best practices and incremental improvements.

The Transformation Club

13 September, 2018// Whether the subject is supply chain or business in general, we frequently talk about the different thinking that’s required in order to achieve different—and dramatically better—results.

Next week at the PGA Tour Championship the world will see a bold example of that same kind of thinking when Bryson DeChambeau, the current Tour points leader, tries to win his first FedEx Cup.

Bryson who? That’s our point. In a world of name-brand golfers like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth, DeChambeau was unknown until recently. Three years ago, he was playing college golf and studying physics at Southern Methodist University. Now, he has risen from the pack to become ranked as the number 7 golfer in the world after starting the season at 99.

Driving this amazing ascent is DeChambeau’s unorthodox approach to one of the world’s most tradition-bound sports. Most famously, he carries a bag of irons that are all cut to exactly the same length—37.5 inches.

Typically, golf clubs are cut shorter as the angle of the club head increases. As a result, every club requires a slightly different stance and swing. That’s too much to master, DeChambeau thought, so he made every club the same.

If that weren’t enough to roil the country club set, DeChambeau has experimented with facing the cup as he putts, straddling the ball and swinging the club between his legs. (It was a short experiment, not entirely successful.) His swing looks ungraceful and robotic, since he locks his wrists in an effort to maintain a consistent angle throughout the swing—precisely the opposite of other golfers.

DeChambeau’s scientific approach even shows up beyond his mechanics. He makes as many as 9 math calculations on the green to help him determine the likely path of the ball—at one time whipping out a protractor compass and a notepad to help him until the PGA deemed that illegal. DeChambeau also regularly measures his brain waves with EEG testing in order to understand how he responds to stress and create the best possible “parasympathetic response.”

It’s crazy thinking that seems crazy smart after you consider the results. "You look at guys who have been so innovative in the world today, they were called weird or quirky," DeChambeau said earlier in the year. "The one I go back to is Albert Einstein. Nobody thought he would amount to anything. He is kind of an idol of mine."

All of which brings us back to supply chain. As we have seen in our own practice transforming transportation and inventory, best practices and incremental improvement can take a network only so far. Those approaches can help make a network about as good as the competition. 

To outperform others and truly turn supply chain into a competitive advantage, you’ve got to think a little differently. Question the data. Maybe invest in dedicated infrastructure for high-volume lanes where others rely on outsourced transportation. Even outsource your inventory.

We’re not advocating careless change. To look at DeChambeau’s example, it’s clear he is applying logic to his experimentation—radical logic, to be sure—and iterating based on the results. We have built our business around that kind of bold change, and it has resulted in seven-figure gains for our high-tech, biotech, pharma and other manufacturing clients. If you’re ready to reinvent your game, we would love to talk with you



While You Were Shipping…

More Recent Stories You May Have Missed That Caught Our Eye

Germany’s Merck Introduces Automation to Supply Chain (WSJ Blogs / Paywall)

We’re all for smarter analytics and faster decision making. The question is, where is the data coming from that feeds the new software? If it’s ERP reporting gathered from multiple partners, our experience is that it may have significant errors. Analytics + the Internet of Things is the real killer combination.

Trucking Gets Tighter In Mexico (Journal of Commerce)

Our own experience in Mexican trucking operations couldn’t agree more with this story. So many major manufacturers and distributors simply aren’t prepared for the new Hours of Service regulations that went live last month, placing significant, new limits on driver time.

Brokered freight Sets Records for Cost and Volume (DC Velocity)

If you’re reading this, it’s probably not news to you, but the current super tight environment calls for some Bryson DeChambeau-level rethinking of transportation networks.

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