Guest Column: Winston Churchill's Supply Chain

How the RAF's WWII supply chain is a model of excellence for today's businesses


In today's world, what can we take away from this lesson from history? Churchill had a very clear view of the situation he faced and therefore was able to prioritize his objectives and shut down non-essential war production. He was able to narrow in on fighter production and make it a priority, assigning a leader that could turn it around. Beaverbrook, an outsider, took a very different approach to the supply chain, and introduced the basic concept of agility, mandated zero inventories to maximize the output, and stuck to his principles, exceeding all expectations.

Beaverbrook's approach was needed in the summer of 1940, but it distorted the supply system of the war economy. After the battle it was replaced by a quota system, where each supply ministry was allocated a quota of raw materials imports based on their priority in the war effort.

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 architecture with HP Services and regularly writes and speaks on the subject of emerging technologies and lessons-from-history. Mark can be contacted via his site www.lessons-from-history.com or mark.kozak-holl@sympatico.ca.

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