Legendary martial artist Bruce Lee once said, “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.” His statement serves as a profound concept that resonates beyond martial arts, even reaching into the realm of supply chain and logistics.

The wisdom of “being like water” speaks of agility, adaptability, and resilience. In the face of diverse challenges, water continually finds its path. The supply chain industry needs to mirror this resilience and adaptability, especially in an era of constant flux and unprecedented challenges.

At LogChain, we firmly believe in this approach. We perceive challenges as stepping stones towards the next frontier of global logistics. Our mission transcends simply keeping pace with the intricate dance of digital transformation; we are here to set the rhythm and lead the movement. But what does “being like water” truly mean for the world of supply chain and logistics?

The reality of supply chain management

In recent years, the headlines have been brimming with questions like “When will supply chains recover?” This question, although understandable, stems from a flawed perspective. The truth is, the global supply chain is continually under pressure from various factors, from natural disasters to pandemics and political instabilities.

Resilinc, a supply chain risk management firm, reported over 3,500 worldwide supply chain disruptions in 2020 alone, resulting in around $346 billion in economic losses. Disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the infamous Suez Canal blockage have underscored the need for supply chains to be agile and ready to adapt to unexpected events.

However, accepting these disruptions shouldn’t be equated with resignation to the status quo. On the contrary, these challenges should be seen as opportunities to adapt, to become stronger and more efficient. To thrive in the face of these disruptions is the heart of being like water.

Being like water in a logistician’s world

In light of Bruce Lee’s philosophy, here are three key insights logisticians can apply:

Constant adaptation: Just like water flowing down a river, supply chain professionals must be constantly adapting to changes in the environment. Staying up-to-date with industry trends and technologies and being aware of geopolitical and economic shifts are pivotal to maintaining a smooth and efficient supply chain.

Flexibility and formlessness: In Bruce Lee’s words, “You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle.” Supply chain professionals must demonstrate this kind of adaptability, welcoming new ideas and approaches and changing course when necessary.

Cutting through obstacles: Water, despite its flexibility, can powerfully cut through obstacles. Logisticians need to approach challenges with this mindset, using creative thinking and problem-solving skills to overcome complex issues.

While the process of adaptation can seem daunting, the rewards are significant. Mastery of adaptability not only enables survival in a dynamic world, but it also paves the way for success and innovation.

The future of supply chain management

As we look forward to the next 3-5 years, supply chain and logistics professionals have exciting opportunities ahead. The increasing representation of supply chain expertise in board rooms, coupled with historic outward and inward investments into “LogTech”, signals a paradigm shift. The supply chain, once relegated to the background, is now a vanguard for global trade. Embracing the philosophy of “be like water” is more than a mindset; it’s a strategic approach to overcoming challenges, embracing change, and fostering innovation. In the words of Bruce Lee, let us all “be water, my friend.” And at LogChain, we invite you to join us in this transformative dance.