Thursday, April 30, 2009

Late Stage MBA- Josh Moritz -Captain Jack, Supply Chain Manage Will Save Us

Supply Chain Management. Before the course I thought it had to do with anchors on ships. But while I do know now that it really has to do with the process of manufacturing a product, delivering a product or providing a service, I had a revelation this morning at the gym that it still has alot to do with boats.

Fellow lap swimmer Captain Jack, graduate of the SUNY Martime Academy, ex- ship captain and now president of a privately held bulk cargo shipping company related how they are protecting their boats off the Gulf of Aden. Dripping wet, towl around his hips, Captain Jack did did say that whatever he was doing it was a way to get pirates to bother someone else. Deterence is the operating word.

I met Jack in Stamford at the Connecticut Martime Association convention a few years ago. Like Koreans who became green grocers in New York City 30 years ago, Greek and Norwegian shipping magnates moved to where other shipping magnates moved to and that was in the area around Greenwich and Stamford, CT., thus the area is now a shipping node as they say in the business. Their children are Americans, going to to Maritime Academies up and down the East Coast, marrying into each others families. They get Masters Degrees in International Transportation Management.They own ships, trade ships, book trade, they run chanderlies, supply ship crews, evacuation, customs paper work, ship hedge funds and private equity investments. In Feb. 2007 people were wondering when the party would end -- it had gone on almost 11 years. By September 2008, it ended.

Maritime conventions are interesting things. All things that matter begin with a chaplain reciting the Mariners Prayer. It don't matter your religion, you stand silently before invocation, because most of the audience knows that the Bermuda Triangle is a real thing. So are pirates.

Back to Jack. Jack's ships are bulk carriers. Pretty much recession proof since they move raw minerals from one place to another. Nice work if you can get it, just have to makes sure you have the right ship in the right place. If you can back haul stuff (learned about back hauling in Supply Chain Management), then you have a great business. As Jack notes, no man is an island and the supply chain is feeling the econonic heat. The biggest concern is staying in business and maximizing the ships. Like Wal-Mart 30 years ago where information allowed Wal-Mart to run trucks with cargo from stores as well as to to stores, the shipping business is trying to figure out how to keep those ships out there longer, competing for ever scarcer cargos. Otherwise Stamford, CT is going to have a lot of large ships sitting out in the Long Island Sound.

Sounds like a Babson Case Study in the making.


No comments: