I’d like to read a business best seller on people how have changed the face of logistics. Unfortunately, such a book does not exist. But what does exist is the Logistics Hall of Fame. So, at least we know who should be written about if a book is ever published on this topic. And if you read German – this organization is based in Germany – they produce a magazine each year with a detailed story on that year’s winner.
Some of the inductees are well known and make perfect sense:
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, the company with the most innovative supply chain in the world. Or Frederick Smith, the founder of FedEx and driving force behind express logistics becoming a big business.
Taiichi Ohno from Toyota, the inventory of Kanban and just-in-time supply chain, is a name I knew, but which was not top of mind. Today the concepts of lean, particularly from a continuous improvement perspective, are embraced by almost every major logistics service provider.
In other cases, the names are well known, but you would not immediately associate the names with greatness in logistics. Henry Ford and Gottleib Daimler are examples. Gottleib Daimler, they claim, invented the truck. Henry Ford, through his invention of the assembly line, insured that transportation equipment would be much more affordable and drove down prices.
There are also inventors/pioneers I would have added to the list of things that transformed logistics, but I didn’t know their names. Examples include:
- `The bar code: Norman Joseph Woodland, George Laurer, and Bernard Silver
- The modern intermodal shipping container: Malcom McLean
- The fork lift: Eugene Clark
But I must admit, this list contained several names I would not put on my list of greats. I’m sure much of my writing must appear to be heavily tinged with a North American point of view; similarly, their list appeared to be Eurocentric.
And the list was missing people and inventions that would be on my list. For example, George Laurer is generally credited with inventing the Universal Product Code (UPC) in 1973.
Sanjiv Sidhu and Ken Sharma, cofounders of i2Technologies. This software company revolutionized supply chain planning. Similarly, Mitch Wesley, now the CEO at 3Gtms, is generally seen as the father of the transportation management system market.
And their list includes scholars I’ve never heard of. But perhaps the best known concept in supply chain management is the Bullwhip Effect; the idea that there are increasing swings in inventory in response to shifts in customer demand as one moves further up the supply chain. I thought Hau Lee was the father of this concept. Wikipedia says that the concept first appeared in Jay Forrester’s book Industrial Dynamics.
Who would you nominate to the Logistics Hall of Fame? You can share your thoughts here.