Since the time I wrote my essay “The Role of Supply Chain Logistics in Shrinking the Gap,” I have felt more and more that there is something in that post that provides a fairly universal approach towards putting all of my other posts on logistics into context. However, that essay was written mid-thought regarding the convergence of Tom Barnett’s ideas and some core supply chain concepts I discovered at Thunderbird via Dr. Cavinato. Later, with another perspective on the essay provided by Steve DeAngelis, CEO of Enterra Solutions, at his Enterprise Resilience Management blog, the role of that essay in terms of my future thinking and writing has reached another level of clarity. This primarily involves the modules of the “Development in a Box” solution-vehicle, described in one essence here, and creating a practical visual for building those modules conceptually.
From my perspective, I believe “Development in a Box” could be a solution-vehicle at any stage of an entity’s development process. I believe both Barnett and DeAngelis feel the same, but the focus of most of their writing is post-conflict/post-disaster scenarios. As Tom Barnett explains with his four flows concept, a particular entity will engage in economic, political, security and people flows at any stage of its development in the process of globalization. In his work, he most often refers to regional and state entities whose flows are influenced by a variety of transnational entities in this process—businesses, NGO’s, government dispatches and deployments, terrorist organizations, amongst many others.
Download Flows_Architectures_Resiliency_Matrix.ppt (one click starts/stops animation)
The above flows-architectures-resiliency (FAR) matrix seeks to explain at its core essence what “Development in a Box” might encompass for a particular scenario—it is in sum the entire matrix of possibilities matching Tom’s four flows to Cavinato’s five architectures and made adaptable and sustainable by Enterra’s ERM framework. Ideally, the overall effect of the entire “Development in a Box” solution transcends the sum of these parts. Personally, I feel ERM frameworks are what primarily drives this possibility of transcendence.
It is safe to assume that the large majority of targeted entities, especially “Gap” entities, will not possess the conditions required to absorb the content modules of an entire “Development in a Box” delivered solution simultaneously given a specific scenario. In this case, customized modules can be delivered via the ERM framework ensuring timing and sequencing capability, degrees of granularity, scalability, connectivity and continuity between and across modules, in addition to ensuring an entire layer of system adaptability and sustainability in the face of advantageous and disadvantageous system perturbations of various criticality. (That was a mouth-full!) The ERM framework would consist of triggers that are “pulled” based on both scenario complexity and scenario hierarchy that signal the necessity for task, process, or strategy level change(s). In this type of matrix, any development solution can be broken down into individual modules, or any combination of individual modules that would then comprise the appropriate solution set.
Of course, depending on the conditions of the regional, state or local entity in question, the appropriate module configuration and granularity in regards to sequencing and timing will vary. Since all entities will be in some stage of development, it becomes necessary for the solution provider to modularize what has already taken place using the above matrix, assign measurements of progress, determine the ongoing sequence and timing, and then establish the ERM framework that will align those modules to an entity’s particular strategy and necessary rule sets that build in the adaptability and sustainability required for the environment in question.
Since I only started this phase of thinking last night, it is still even somewhat abstract for me. Thus, I will put forth an example that is a unquestionably a critical, global issue in the world today: immigration.
Our Hypothetical Client: Japan
Since I am in Japan, and am an immigrant working in Japan, let’s imagine we have been asked by Japan to produce a “Development in a Box” delivered solution on its current immigration scenario. Japan, with a rapidly aging population and long-time restrictive approach to immigration, is foreseeing some major system perturbations over the next 10-20 years.
How can we use the above FAR matrix to define the client’s current development state towards transitioning to a more adaptive and sustainable state? Let’s attempt a very rough application.
Defining first the four flows:
Economic: All transactions involving immigrants that create value; most notably the transaction where the immigrant provides a service (labor) and receives some sort of benefit (cash, etc.). Other transactions include scenarios where the immigrant exchanges cash for a particular service, transfers their cash overseas, or contributes cash to a government entity in the form of taxes/fees. In all of these scenarios, additional value is created by the immigrant’s presence in Japan.
Political: Laws and regulations that govern the immigrant’s presence in Japan.
Security: The cross-border security mechanisms that ensure that the immigration process runs absent of criminal and violent illegal activity and/or entities.
People: The movement of the immigrants themselves and/or those people involved in managing the immigration process.
Each flow must be then described across the five supply chain architectures. For example, we can take the economic flows and begin to assess the physical architecture involved in managing the flow of cash/benefits involved in any transactions between the immigrant and another economic entities. The most obvious example is a bank system where cash reserves are physically stored. The financial architecture is the set of actual systems and processes in place to manage and govern the flow of cash generated by the immigrant’s presence—these include available investment vehicles, transaction processes, fee requirements for delivering cash overseas, etc. The informational architecture is that which captures, analyzes and manages all data related to an immigrant’s economic presence in Japan—taxes/fees paid, financial statements from employers regarding immigrant labor costs and benefits, etc. The relational architecture is that which enhances the relationship between the immigrant and Japan for the economic benefit of both—immigrant catering economic organizations, scholarships, etc. Lastly, innovational architecture is that which seeks to further enhance the economic value created by the immigrant’s presence in Japan—subsidized language training and assimilation programs that by their nature innovate the immigrant’s presence in Japan.
As can be seen I hope, architectures created for economic flows alone are quite vulnerable to parallel failings in non-integrated architectures designed for political, security and people flows. This is where the ERM framework says “Oh, for that module you are working on, and with the given constraints, these are the best practices catalogued for a matching political flow informational architecture on immigration process management.” How cool would that be? Well, I believe that is what Barnett and DeAngelis are aiming for (although they can correct me on that one of course!). And because such a system can be accessed to reassess immigration at a future date based on modules of updated, global best practices, Japan in this case receives an adaptive, sustainable solution that drives the resiliency it desires.
Ok, this post is way long. Any questions--send them my way!