It’s 1946 and a young Lee Iacocca finishes engineering school and joins Ford Motor Company – at the time, one the most prestigious companies in the world. Lee brings countless suggestions and ideas to his boss, only to hear that same question asked. ”Where has that worked before?”
Undaunted, Lee finds out.
Iacocca learned from his boss a fundamental lesson: if an idea is truly innovative, you’ll find examples of its successful implementation scattered throughout history. The secret to successful innovation is to import a tested and reliable idea or concept into a business situation where it has never been used.
Repurpose the proven.
Almost everyone working in supply chain has heard of Distribution Resource Planning (DRP). Did you ever wonder where idea for DRP came from? Well, from repurposing another concept. That’s when, back in the 1970’s, a young Andre Martin learned about the concept of a bill of material – a simple idea to calculate components and parts needed to produce a product.
Andre was struggling with how to better manage the flow of inventories between his distribution centres and factories. When he saw the BOM concept he got to thinking. Couldn’t he flip the concept and use it to calculate a bill of distribution?Sure he could. He repurposed the BOM idea and the rest is history.
A number of colleagues and business associates have complimented us on the Flowcasting process. Many refer to it as simple and elegant. Take a POS forecast, by item, by store and effortlessly transform it, apply simply calculations to it, until it speaks the language of the supply chain.
But the idea is not quite so brilliant and we’ve seen this movie before. Frankly it’s an extension of the idea of Distribution Resource Planning (DRP). The idea has been repurposed to extend the thinking and the logic to the store.
While it’s nice to hear people refer to Flowcasting as a breakthrough innovation and to us as innovators, you and I know the truth.
We’re really practical repurposers.