Goooooooal! Logistics Lessons from the 2014 World Cup
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

World Cup fever has officially taken over across the globe, with even the farthest thing from sports fans remaining up to date with game results, if just to taunt fans of the losing teams the next day at the office.

We in the logistics industry are watching as well, but for our own reasons: finding business lessons. What have we learned so far? Read on to find out! When Brazil first stared down Croatia, we were sure the first goal in the 2014 World Cup would come from the home team.

We were technically right: a flash of curly afro a few minutes into the game and Brazilian Marcelo broke millions of hearts across the planet by nudging the ball into Brazil’s own net. A daunting beginning? Yes. One that was beyond recovery? Absolutely not.

We in the logistics industry are watching as well, but for our own reasons: finding business lessons. What have we learned so far? Read on to find out! When Brazil first stared down Croatia, we were sure the first goal in the 2014 World Cup would come from the home team.

We were technically right: a flash of curly afro a few minutes into the game and Brazilian Marcelo broke millions of hearts across the planet by nudging the ball into Brazil’s own net. A daunting beginning? Yes. One that was beyond recovery? Absolutely not.

We were technically right: a flash of curly afro a few minutes into the game and Brazilian Marcelo broke millions of hearts across the planet by nudging the ball into Brazil’s own net. A daunting beginning? Yes. One that was beyond recovery? Absolutely not.

For logistics companies, a false start at the beginning of the financial year may seem to foreshadow a difficult period marred by slow business and competitors one-upping your every move.

In some cases, your troubles may even begin at home with poor book keeping or unfortunate business strategies.

What is essential is that supply chain managers find their inner Neymar and turn their situation around by all means necessary. Hiring external parties to provide an objective perspective and strategy help, internal meetings, cost saving measures and such can help turn what seems like a business defeat into a stunning victory- no unique haircuts needed.

Our next World Cup Business Lesson comes from the Spain versus Netherlands. Reigning champions Spain came into the match confident of defending their title, with supporters all over social media echoing these statements.

For some logistics managers, once the business becomes properly established, there is a tendency to become complacent and believe you will always have the top spot.

Such companies often focus less time on promoting and growing the business, believing that there is little need to continue competing with smaller upstarts. As any football fan now knows, Spain suffered a humiliating 1-5 loss to Netherlands, much to the shock of their fans. What we can learn as supply chain managers in this case is that even as the business continues to grow in market share and prominence, one can never know when the logistics version of the Flying Dutchman will arrive to knock us off our pedestals.

In remembering that giants can also fall, we in the logistics industry must concentrate on staying on our toes at all times.

Still on the topic of crushing defeats, fans of Portugal were forced into social media exile following a resounding 4-0 whipping delivered piping hot from Germany.

While Germany is known as a formidable team, fans of Portugal still rested their hopes on forward extraordinaire Cristiano Ronaldo. This is a common move in business: once a flagship product is established, some supply chain managers may place the hopes of the company on this, at the expense of creating and developing other products.

While it is important to nurture your star product, as logistics managers we must also have contingencies: as the saying goes “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. You might be surprised to find your opponents have their own Thomas Muller in their arsenal to blow your product completely out of the water.

Photo credit: Twitter

Photo credit: Twitter

On to happier lessons from the World Cup, we turn to the Japanese, who conceded a 2-1 defeat to Cote d’Ivoire.

As we have seen from Kenyan football fans, handling a defeat often involves trashing the stadium, smashing innocent drivers’ windshields and throwing stones that seem to have been carried from home for just this purpose. The Japanese fans, however, showed us that there is a different better way.

Japanese fans were seen and photographed cleaning up their side of the stadium, ensuring they left it spotless as they found it, even after their team lost the match. For logistics managers, we can take from this the importance of grace, especially in times of loss. Being a good winner is important, but more valuable is the ability to accept defeat and maintain your dignity, rallying internally to do better next time.

The importance of a good reputation cannot be overstated, and supply chain managers must learn to act with such maturity in all situations, remaining courteous and professional, without stooping to dirty moves like spreading negative press about competitors or other malicious sabotage.

As for us, we keep watching the matches as they air, hoping our team wins for the sake of the bets we may or may not have made on the outcome. Wish us luck! What lessons have you taken away from the World Cup so far?

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