Friday, 23 January 2009

Supply Chain management in Exodus

This year, Tina and I are reading the Bible together using a Chronological Bible, one which attempts to place the whole of the Old and New Testaments in their chronological order. Reading the whole Bible in one year is a challenge -- there are about four or five pages to read each day, and we read them aloud together after breakfast, before our family prayers.

Today we reached the account of the Children of Israel in Egypt, and Pharaoh's punishment that their slavery be made harder. They should continue making bricks for him, but they had to find their own straw (to bind the clay together). And, the word of God continues, this made their work much, much harder and their productivity fell.

It struck me that here is one of the earliest recorded instances of a supply chain and how bad management made it go wrong. Up till then, there was a supply chain of Egyptians providing straw for the Hebrews making bricks. Pharaoh's orders broke that. And it went wrong. The Bible tells the story from the production end. What happened, one wonders, about the upstream end? What happened to those whose livelihood had been based on supplying straw?

Amazingly, there are many hits when you Google with the keywords "supply chain" + exodus + straw, and one which comes up high is a Christian sermon about modern slavery ... not quite what I was thinking about, but fascinating that someone else has linked the ideas in a church. Here is that link.

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