Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom

In the hierarchy of what we want to find on the internet, Wisdom is the top of the heap.  On the high ground of the information continents are the foothills of knowledge, leading to the mountain tops where the wisdom sits.

Unfortunately, true wisdom is not easy to find on any specific subject on the internet.  The internet is a sea of data, with continents of information.   

Think of it this way:

Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Wisdom
as a ratio
80 -> 10 -> 9 -> 1

This hierarchy is a logical order, from the most plentiful but the weakest to the rare and powerful.  Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.  Look carefully at this definition of wisdom and you will not find the words data and information.  Wisdom does not require data or information, it requires Knowledge, Experience and Good Judgment. 

Our goal is to help you develop your wisdom.  Delivering wisdom is a team effort, between what we do here on this website with our articles and essays and what you do with the content.  Yes, your effort is required.  Yes, we have tons of knowledge and wisdom created over years of experience of actually practicing supply chain management.  We share with you on this web site our knowledge and experience.  However, we cannot provide you judgment, the third element in wisdom. 

Good Judgment is something that you can't find in a book, or in a class,  Good Judgment only comes from your own experience of making decisions, both good and bad decisions.  While everyone hates mistakes, we learn from our mistakes.  The more painful the mistake the harder the lesson.  It is the mistakes that help us develop our Good Judgment, the embarrassment and pain of the mistakes a reminder of when we made the wrong decision, thankful most of our mistakes are things that we can see, and we have an opportunity to stop making them.

By sharing our knowledge and experience, sharing with you the thinking behind our decisions in our practice, pulling back the curtains to expose the issues behind the judgments, asking difficult questions and sharing painful learnings, we hope that you can learn from what we present.

What you will find here is, as a good friend calls "a metric s&*t ton of work!"  It is a living and changing site.  Started in 2011 as a simple blog site, our practitioners added to the body of knowledge every day.  Between late 2011 and 2015 the authors crafted over 1,000 articles and essays.  Some of the articles were timely for the time of publication, and many are timeless.  Starting in May 2017 we launched into rebuilding the site, changing the format and building more structure by topics, which you find here.  We are reviewing all of the content, updating and improving.  Meanwhile, there is still huge value in the over 500 articles to start learning from.  Browse, read, think.  Tell us what you want to see.  As I said, you have to work too.

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Book of Proverbs, Chapter 4, Verses 5 & 7

Topic Summary


The Art of Analysis

Do you think?

If you think, then you perform analysis.  You analyze things, situations, people, data, information, all sorts of things to make decisions.  Analysis is a form of thinking, a detailed examination of something so that you can understand it.  Analysis is a fundamental part of thinking.


Behaviors for Success

Leadership is an activity, not a subject. Leadership is something you do. Building a strong organization; developing a consistent and successful routine; communicating with clarity of purpose; maintaining high standards; keeping a capable and loyal support staff. These are all active tasks and responsibilities.
Looking at successful leaders in the supply chain and logistics community today, and at legendary historic figures such as Winston Churchill--who successfully navigated what is arguably one of the most difficult leadership positions ever held--we see that they all exhibit the same key behaviors and practices in their path to success.

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Warehouse Operations

Since the early days of warehousing, when the Egyptian rulers built vast storehouses for grain, the operations in a warehouse differ than any other commercial enterprise.  Warehouses don't typically add value.  However, without warehouses value is wasted. 
Warehouses operate differently than any other commercial entity.  But managers often assume that somebody that can manage a factory can manager a warehouse, a decision that often ends in failure.  If you are in a warehouse leadership role, aspire to be a warehouse manager, or just want to understand what happens inside a warehouse, this is a solid place to start.

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Transportation Management

Transportation and shipping management is an infinite circus of moving parts and changing variables. How fast can you get your shipment? Are trucking schedules and driver regulations delaying it? Is there insufficient lead time on the order?  Was it delayed because the order was too small  so now they're waiting for more freight to fill the container?
This topic section is dedicated to exploring shipping regulations as they are, how they developed, and how to strategize the best shipping terms for you. We answer questions you didn't think of asking about transportation management.

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Inventory Management

Most inventory managers or production planners know very little about one of the controlling fundamentals of their trade - the financial constraints and financial impacts of the decisions they make.
Finance is a fundamental component in the Inventory Management machine.  The value of the inventory, the timing of the cash flows, and the rules regarding safety stock and economic order points all influence, and are influenced by, financial decisions made by inventory managers.

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Facility Design

There are two paths to follow designing a distribution center. Engineered Design is where all the criteria, all the design requirements for the operations are known up front, and decisions about all the systems integration are made before any construction starts.  Organic Design is where the facility already exists in some way and the operation either contorts to fit the space, or the operations grew into the space.
In this topic we cover the design decisions a supply chain manager should be aware of when designing any facility, warehouse, DC or factory. 

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Project Management

Project management is vastly different than managing an ongoing operations.  Projects are one-time events that take time to happen. Project management involves teams from different departments, different companies, different countries, all brought together to work on a single one-time event.  Once the project is done the entities disperse.
Projects depend on schedules, communication, organization and the availability of different people working on other jobs.  Great project managers know how to keep the moving parts moving.  They direct and manage hundreds of different people and companies to build something.  

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