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The Shipping Point: The Rise of China and the Future of Retail Supply Chain Management by Peter J. Levesque

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CHAPTER SIX

UNLOCKING SUPPLY CHAIN INNOVATION

PETER LEVESQUE

Cliff Conneighton in his book, The Venture Management Handbook, argues that, “there are (almost) no new ideas, only opportunities to execute an old idea better, faster, or cheaper.”1 In many ways we have become desensitized to the advances in science and technology that occur so often these days, believing that all the “big things” have already been invented. Below is a quote from a famous historical figure who seems to have been caught up in a similar mindset early in life, before making his game-changing break through in aviation:

By the time I was old enough and became a pilot, things had changed. The record-setting flights across oceans, over the poles, and to the corners of the earth had all been accomplished. I was disappointed by a wrinkle in history that had put me here, one generation too late. I had missed all the great times and adventure in flight.2

—Neil Armstrong

There have been tremendous gains in logistics and supply chain efficiency over the last decade with the development of more powerful logistics technology and software. But breakthrough innovation has not always been the result of sophisticated technology. There are also examples of gamechanging innovation that were the result of simple ideas and basic process improvements.

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In April 1956, Malcolm McLean first put trucking containers on board his ...

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