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The Sinatra Doctrine

Instead of always "My Way", let's handle logistics "Our Way".

4 people leaping on beach holding hands

In business as in life, cooperation makes all the difference.

As CTO of a supply chain logistics software business, I often face the challenge of connecting siloed systems and automating manual processes to find new and better value. Without coordination, the gaps between systems and the people who depend on them become very apparent.

I see this particularly at the local level of supply chain operations when front-line teams are working with both local partners and global centers. Rather like the Frank Sinatra song, everyone does it ”My Way”. But I can’t blame them, local teams tasked with managing complex deliveries often have no choice but to build bespoke processes because the tech provided by the head office simply does not flex to meeting the complex requirements at hand.

When I encounter these situations, our biggest challenge is getting the shipping partners and their extended network of service providers to be on the same page. The system enables it, but we need the extended team to share timely data, standardize processes and talk to each other. If we achieve cooperation across the people with flexible tech we often are surprised when the extended team starts solving problems before they even begin.

I was not necessarily in a cooperative mindset during a recent family weekend trip to the beach with my elderly parents

I was faced with a real-world logistics challenge to transport family, and parents from car to beach while ensuring mom and dad were comfortable during transport. I used the first two trips (legs?) to pull a beach wagon to ferry the tents, windbreak, beach chairs, wheelchair, food, utensils, and drinks. Once everything was set up, I made a third trip to bring my parents to the beach site.

What I had not anticipated was the weight of everything as I tried to drag my wagon across the sand. It was only through the help of others on the beach, that I could get to the beach site and set everything up. Then came the surprise, amid hauling my “freight”, I was unaware I had dropped my wallet and phone until a stranger found them in the sand and returned them to me.

I realized that act of consideration and the cooperation from others on the beach saved me. The extended team (my fellow beach goers) just solved a big problem before I was aware of it.

I see a parallel in what’s needed to overcome the challenges of dealing with complex inland logistics and delivery performance. A cooperative mindset is the way to go for areas that have been historically managed independently. My team builds flexible and configurable tech. But it is no substitute for cooperation from an extended team. Instead of “My Way”, I think modern logistics would benefit from help across an extended team. I guess the new “Oscar Doctrine” is let’s do it “Our way”.

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