Developing African supply chains is a prerequisite for genuine change and longevity

One of my new techniques involve a degree of introspection from candidates on their person, thoughts and decision making. It’s probably something I picked up from THINKING FAST AND SLOW by Daniel Kahneman. In his book he argues and consolidates significant evidence about how if we actually thought a little slower, paid a bit more attention, we could notice very interesting aspects about how we think. As a result our class focused on candidates introspecting their product choices and service experiences through the theoretical framework of BOWERSOX and CLASS’ paradigm shifting work on logistics.

Our African world view contributes to our systemic vocabulary in confronting the world and assembling our thoughts to make decisions. This is something that is quite deeply established in various authors’ works, especially in THE INVENTION OF AFRICA by Valentin-Yves Modimbe. He argues in some great detail about the instruments that taut the strings of Africa’s chords rattling for all the world to hear, against an external and internally oppressive environments. Yet, as McKinsey reported in 2012-2013 the African Lion is on the rise, with respect to middle income growth and urbanization. However, the industrial side of development has lagged behind non-commensurately. Considering that the African Union Agenda 2063 requires active educators and involved students to realize this agenda; and that the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index reveals that logistics competence is a weakness in South Africa, it goes without saying that there’s fertile soil for new seeds to grow. As African Free Trade becomes essential, a critical understanding of supply chains of-and-for necessity may facilitate the kind of development that could translate into growth.

Yesterday our group was unknowingly introduced to African Supply Chains “at the edge of pure innovation”. Specifically concerning myself with unbundling a story for and against innovation-into-necessity. “Innovation out of necessity” as Toby argues in his TED, is an important argument to begin with. However, our collective premise is to interrogate the interaction between needs and wants, potentially mutating innovation into a necessity in the murky grey middle. At the most recent Transport Forum Special Interest Group, Transnet Port Terminals also emphasized how necessary it is for them to realize improved customer service experiences; integrated networks of information across supply chain members; and the future of public private partnerships in releasing excess capacity. This brings great opportunities for new types of businesses in Africa.

In class, we essentially concluded our foundations about the customer, marketing and logistics— a series of themes we’ve been imbibed in for nearly six weeks. I leaned tremendously on THE TEN PRINCIPLES BEHIND GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES by Matt Watkinson as a practical guideline. In this second chapter of our work we’re going to focus more deeply on supply chains and how clients throughout each phase of value creation is a special customer waiting to be fulfilled. Pertinent to Africa’s economic growth is the development of industries, cultures and practices which would probably be underpinned by lean supply chain networks and dense logistics systems. Of course competition is inevitable, but that’s not where our narrative is oriented. While Botho is seldom involved in corporate business, it’s quite essential for the future customer: a blend of common-passion and discipline in an abundant economy. In this vein competitive advantage is one thing, but scaling complementarity in a complex network of advanced and responsive production lines is potentially a source of longevity. Longevity is the future of value creation in Africa and the world at large.


*The opinion above is not on behalf of our North-West University, if anything hold me accountable for errors and the point of view.

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