How Do We Sustainably Solve a Supply Chain In Crisis?

Lessons from Great American Industrialists.
December 22, 2022 by
How Do We Sustainably Solve a Supply Chain In Crisis?
Muda Management, Jack Thompson



Through teamwork and broader lessons from World War II Era Industrialists.

Growing up most of us were taught the importance of teamwork at one point or another, whether that be from sports or the classroom. A great example of a community that works together as a team is the opensource technology community. This is a community that understands the evolution of technology isn’t limited to those at Microsoft or Oracle. The large majority of software innovations come from the opensource community in 2022 and we are seeing widespread adaption of these solutions. Examples of wildly successful opensource projects include Python, React js, and Tesseract. All three of these projects are now largely used by startups, mid-market, and large enterprise organizations to build their products. 

During The Second World War we saw Industrialists like Pierre DuPont, Henry Ford, JP (“Jack”) Morgan Jr., and Walter Chrysler band together to solve one of the United State’s toughest challenges. At the beginning of WWII, the U.S. was far from prepared to enter the war since the country was still dealing with fallout from the depression. It took the teamwork of these fierce competitors to produce the munition and supplies needed for entering the war. For example, the infamous M3 Sherman Tank was built by Chrysler, but housed a Ford V8 engine. Let’s also not forget about the many small to mid-size businesses that converted to producing similar supplies like Singer Sewing Machine Company built the .45 caliber pistol (aka the M1911A1).

More recently we’ve experienced an ongoing semiconductor shortage, and possibly one of the more interesting examples of a community working together is the “pi” community. Raspberry Pi released the first $5 computer back in 2012. Since then, Raspberry Pi has designed and manufactured more powerful mini single board computers (‘SBC’). Raspberry Pi is an opensource hardware, one of the first of its kind and originally designed for tinkering/learning is now being considered a potential fit for industrial applications. Opensource hardware still leverages opensource projects like Linux and Python, but also shares the specifications and technical details to encourage the manufacturing of these SBC’s. Compatible alternative manufacturers include Banana Pi, Libre Computer, and Asus. 

Ultimately, the above is validation that there are sustainable solutions to the global supply chain crisis and none of them involve increasing the unemployment rate in the process. Another way to mitigate supply constraints is also associated with cost savings, refurbished hardware & SBC’s. Not only does this eliminate/significantly reduce environmental waste, but SBC’s consume less power than a traditional laptop. This is sustainability and what the business community must work towards. The result of offshoring labor and government regulations have put the many corporate leaders at the kid’s table. It is our responsibility as a community to solve the global supply chain crisis as a private sector community since it is the same community that ultimately were the cause of this same crisis.

This is lean thinking. This is Muda™ Management. 

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