Supply Chain Yoga
How the Discipline of Rhythmic Breathing Applies Equally to Effective Planning
By Clay Thomas, Principal SCMO2
So I took up yoga recently, ostensibly to see if it would help lessen some neck and shoulder pain I have been experiencing. The focus on breathing, the clearing of one’s thoughts and getting deep into your poses … all require a single-mindedness that demands discipline and routine to master. Being new to the art, my mind still wanders some and at one point it occurred to me that the discipline of yoga is actually very similar to how SCMO2 sees supply chain planning and advocates to its customers regularly.
I know, the connection may seem like a bit of a stretch. But the rhythmic breathing, in through the nose, filling the lungs and even focusing on a certain area for that breath to fill, then out through the mouth … that really is the same rhythmic discipline of your supply chain and planning psyche!
The poses, and your ability to hold those poses (or even get properly into them), are greatly dependent not just on your body and flexibility, but deep and intentional breathing. Again with the breathing. But now our yoga abilities extend to the body, and the extent of its flexibility, not unlike our supply chain planning abilities extend to our systems and the flexibility of the tools they provide. Good techniques enable you to better leverage your flexibility and manipulate your body to sustain and hold poses—without it, it’s a struggle, you lose your balance and you can’t quite get your body to “hold” its position.
Again, this is precisely the way you go to market and run your business. Some poses come easy, others require more time and practice and strength and discipline. But all of them require that central focus on rhythmic breathing.
Too many consulting companies focus on the different “bodies” they can offer or how flexible any of their recommended tools can make you. All of which are just externalities that in themselves don’t help relieve the pain (for me, it’s in my right shoulder!). But focus on breathing, the air flowing through the body, the mind becoming rhythmic and disciplined, and suddenly that pain subsides and you become more flexible.
At SCMO2, we breathe supply chain. It’s the approach and discipline we have had now for nearly 20 years. And that’s the approach and discipline we help teach our clients. Of course we bring the platform and tools (the body and flexibility) but it’s the breathing that is most critically emphasized. Without a rhythm and discipline, no amount of data and technology can transform a painful supply chain.
Turns out I’ve been doing yoga all this time and just didn’t know it!