Guest Column: Winston Churchill's Supply Chain (Part 4)

A look at how supply chain leaders adapt and overcome in difficult circumstances


Figure 5: The inputs/outputs to Bentley Priory

The whole operation, because of the flow of information, could readily track downed pilots and aircraft. The operation could also track and relate wastage by squadron and therefore direct the supply chain to re-supply where needed. Dowding, through Ultra, generally had a relatively good idea in advance of where the targets were. Dowding could use this information to give Beaverbrook a forecast to where likely supply would be needed.

Summary

In today's world, what can we take away from this lesson-from-history? Dowding's use of real-time event models, and institutionalized decision-making, known as the "Dowding System," or Adaptive System, helped turn the course of Battle of Britain. It was able to very accurately follow the battle and track fighter wastage. As a result, it directed Beaverbrook's organization (See Part 1 and Part 2) to the recovery of aircraft through the Civilian Repair Operation and to respond to its needs and supply fighters literally "on demand." It was the first time where information was used on such an industrial scale.

About the Author: Mark Kozak-Holland's latest book in the lessons-from-history series is titled "Churchill's Adaptive Enterprise: Lessons for Business Today." It draws parallels between events in World War II and today's business challenges. Kozak-Holland is a senior business architect with HP Services and regularly writes and speaks on the subject of emerging technologies and lessons-from-history. Kozak-Holland can be contacted via his site www.lessons-from-history.com or mark.kozak-holl@sympatico.ca.

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