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Churchill Statue - Leaders in Logistics Quotes

Leaders in Logistics: 6 Classic Quotes With Supply Chain Relevance

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In tough times people often look to the wisdom of leaders - whether political, cultural, or even leaders in logistics - to guide their decisions.

We thought it would be fun to run some classic quotes through the lens of the logistics professional... it turns out there are plenty of lessons to be learned about the supply chain from these wise voices from the past.

(On the other hand, if you're looking for a supply chain quote of the 3PL kind, contact us to start that conversation!)

Classic Quotes from Leaders in Logistics

Our clients and partners know that we draw inspiration from a wide range of sources, not the least of which are iconic leaders and entrepreneurs.

Here are six timeless quotes from well-known leaders, all of which hold value for supply chain management and logistics:

"Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning."

~Winston Churchill

Worrying solves nothing, of course, but we take this British bulldog's words in terms of recognizing potential kinks in the supply chain before they occur. As a logistics professional it's important to run "what if" scenarios and dig into any areas that give you pause for thought. That's where you'll find those advance worries turn into advance planning!

"Planning is everything. The plan is nothing."

~Dwight D. Eisenhower

With rigorous military planning running through his veins, Eisenhower still understood that the majority of plans become  useless not long after they're rolled out. The value of planning is high, however, as defining objectives drives long term strategy. Don't stray too far from your overall supply chain strategy, but be flexible enough to change the logistics tactics you use to get there.

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other."

~Walter Elliot

This prominent Scottish politician also saw the important distinction between tactics and strategy. Logistics involves successfully piecing together any number of moving parts into one working supply chain. Although it may look like one long process, supply chain managers need the patience to think in terms of both the end-to-end system and its constituent parts.

"Geeks are people who love something so much that all the details matter."

~Marissa Mayer

Yahoo's CEO continues to drive relentless change at the company as she seeks to reinvigorate its name, but that doesn't mean that she's not laser-focused on the little things. In a supply chain, the geeks are the managers who still need to poke and prod every idea to understand how it will work to improve their supply chain. In our industry, we're the fulfillment geeks! Of course, micro-management is usually something to avoid, but seeing the supply chain from both a birds-eye view and in its most minute details is an ability that's worth its weight in gold.

"Innovation is saying no to a thousand things."

~Steve Jobs

Apple's main man always said that he was as proud of the things his company didn't do as those that it did. Strange words for a man who drove so many innovative products from concept to reality? Not really. It's easy to get attracted to every new idea that comes our way under the justification of "innovation," but that word is used to describe almost any process different to what is already being done. A truly innovative logistics mind understands the difference between an oversold suggestion and a game-changing idea.

"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."

~Stephen Hawking

Few would argue with the world's foremost physicist and a man who can write a book entitled "A Brief History of Time," and his nuanced take on intelligence. Your business can employ the smartest logistics graduates and theoretically-inclined minds, but experience in the industry is the most important skill when it comes to adapting to unexpected supply chain challenges. Knowing where to look and how to adjust is often a more critical skill than getting a great plan down on paper and expecting it to run without surprises.

Take some time to think about the quotes that inspire you. Can they also be turned into lessons in logistics?

Share your favorites with us in the comments or over on Facebook and Twitter!