Modern Applications

Effective militaries have a long and illustrious history of utilizing efficient, resourceful supply chains, mostly because the strategists at their helm have followed Alexander the Great’s example. His methodology first revealed just how critical logistics are to winning military campaigns -- think of the massive rationing and war bond efforts that took place on the U.S. and U.K. home fronts during World War II, as access to supplies was a critical component to the Allies’ eventual victory.

The supply chain lessons to be gleaned from Alexander the Great are simple, but important. For example, developing a working knowledge and detailed understanding of an area’s available resources and technologies enables good leaders to develop competitive advantages over their adversaries, as Alexander did on the road. Additionally, developing alliances with key suppliers and service providers can prove to be a powerful tool in a tight situation.

And a final lesson: assessing areas of weakness within your supply chain network and implementing new strategies, as Alexander did with his baggage transport system, may be a roll of the dice -- but it can also offer tremendous rewards. As the great conqueror proved, sometimes the risk is worth the return.


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