I recently watched this very inspiring documentary From Rocky to Creed: The Legacy Continues, featuring Sylvester Stallone and his costars, sharing their journey through the Rocky movie franchise. For those of you not familiar with Rocky, he is the fictional, perennial underdog boxer who won some very memorable boxing matches with odds heavily stacked against him.
The franchise started with the Oscar winning Rocky in 1976. After Rocky V was released in 1990, Stallone decided to finish the series with Rocky Balboa in 2006. The movie was a treat to all diehard Rocky fans. However, the 60+ year old, out of shape, arthritic Rocky working his way to tackle the then young heavy weight champion Mason “Line” Dixon was bit of a stretch. I thought that was the last I saw of Rocky. Then came the movie Creed in 2015, launching the character of Adonis Creed, son of the most flamboyant, very likeable, champion boxer Apollo Creed from the original Rocky series.
Here is what is different about Creed, the movie. It relaunched Rocky Balboa, in a far more believable role as one who coaches Creed, this ultra-cool, young, driven, and hungry millennial boxer to a successful championship. With its gripping narrative amplified by its perfect background score, the movie drew in an entirely new millennial demographic in addition to the previous generation of Rocky fans, setting up for what is guaranteed to be a highly anticipated spinoff franchise. But Creed did not become such a massive success without leveraging and building upon the strengths of Rocky Balboa. Rocky and Creed together really made 1+1 =3!
Now, what does this all have to do with Bimodal supply chain? Gartner defines bimodal as follows: Bimodal is the practice of managing two separate but coherent styles of work: one focused on predictability; the other on exploration. Mode 1 is optimized for areas that are more predictable and well-understood. It focuses on exploiting what is known, while renovating the legacy environment into a state that is fit for a digital world. Mode 2 is exploratory, experimenting to solve new problems and optimized for areas of uncertainty.
In other words, Mode 1 is evolutionary and Mode 2 is revolutionary. Mode 1 is legacy and Mode 2 is the new generation. Mode 1 goes through the traditional development and deployment paradigm of long cycles. Mode 2 follows the agile iterative testing and rollout process with continuous release of capabilities. Mode 1 automates the predictable. Mode 2 is smart, social, mobile, and collaborative; everything that is needed to tackle the complexity and volatility of today’s business. In the end, both modes have a role to play.
Tying it to my supply chain world, Mode 1 consists of the legacy ERP investments that some of our customers have made. These are hard to rip and replace. By itself, the legacy capability has slow reflexes, and cannot keep up with the rapidly changing needs of the business. But it does capture transactions as they happen and retain them.
However, with a Mode 2 approach, we see a new generation of hip, cool, collaborative, fast and cloud-based supply chain planning capabilities. Instead of ripping and replacing Mode 1, the capabilities of Mode 2 are layered on top of Mode 1. We do see this bimodal methodology in action with our customers as they continue to revolutionize their planning. They are doing this by moving away from a batch, functionally oriented supply chain planning to a real time, network level, scenario-based supply chain planning. In essence, the mode 1 legacy ERP investments are Rocky Balboa and the mode 2 RapidResponse capabilities are Adonis Creed. Both have a role to play. Let Mode 2 do the heavy lifting and hard work like Creed, while Mode 1 supports like Rocky Balboa. The combination truly makes 1+1 =3!