Executive Briefings

In War, Logistics Is Better Ally Than Strategy, Two Books Suggests

It's a military truism that amateurs talk strategy while professionals study logistics. Two engaging new World War II histories remind us why logistics matter more. In fact, in wartime, logistics eats strategy for lunch.

Paul Kennedy's Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War explains how Allied scientists, technologists and industrialists improvised and innovated their way to give their armed forces a fighting chance. And Stephen Budiansky's Blackett's War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare tells the little-known story of an obscure British physicist who applied extraordinary skills in technology and organizational management to transform the Allied war effort.

Disciples and devotees of "strategic thinking" might find both books humbling. They should. Kennedy and Budiansky cast their lead characters as chief innovation officers who struggle to manage bureaucratic battles even as they oversee life-and-death conflicts between Axis and Allied supply chains. In this competition, disrupting enemy supply chains often proves more important than protecting one's own.

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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply management, sourcing solutions, transportation management

Paul Kennedy's Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War explains how Allied scientists, technologists and industrialists improvised and innovated their way to give their armed forces a fighting chance. And Stephen Budiansky's Blackett's War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare tells the little-known story of an obscure British physicist who applied extraordinary skills in technology and organizational management to transform the Allied war effort.

Disciples and devotees of "strategic thinking" might find both books humbling. They should. Kennedy and Budiansky cast their lead characters as chief innovation officers who struggle to manage bureaucratic battles even as they oversee life-and-death conflicts between Axis and Allied supply chains. In this competition, disrupting enemy supply chains often proves more important than protecting one's own.

Read Full Article


Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply management, sourcing solutions, transportation management