Roddy Martin died Friday. Aggressive brain cancer stole his life at the early age of 64. I will miss our spirited debates and sparring matches on market trends. As a strong supporter of Supply Chain Insights, it just does not seem possible to not hear his voice when I dial his phone to chat at the end of a long day.
I worked with Roddy when I was at AMR Research from 2006 to 2010. He was my boss for two years, but I liked him better as a friend.
As a strong proponent of maturity models, many discussions centered on the movement from program-based to functional metrics and how to drive alignment. Our discussions, influenced the model shown in Figure 1 from the Book Metrics that Matter. In stages four and five of the model, the supply chain processes move from a focus on inside-out optimization to align internally, balance the enterprise goals with market potential, and drive resilience through outside-in processes. (To hear Roddy live, listen to a prior podcast.) The pandemic offered us a poignant reminder on the danger of inside-out process thinking.
Defining Outside-In Processes
Roddy loved beer. Many discussions were at a pub at a conference or a casual meeting catching up at the airport between flights, but they always included a discussion on the importance of outside-in processes. He would pound his fist on the bar and lament the slow movement from inside-out to outside-in processes. I mainly listened to his rant, and then stated, “We never defined outside-in processes well enough when we were at AMR Research to drive adoption. We need to do this work.” He would agree. We had this discussion over-and-over again for five years.
He was the first to call when I contracted COVID-19 in March 2020. Scared on the outcome, he called me frequently. Over the course of the weeks, we discussed some work that we might do together, but life got in the way.
In December 2020, Roddy received a diagnosis of Glioblastoma. Initially, we spoke frequently. Positive and upbeat, he spoke warmly about his relationship with his doctor. I shared the work that we are doing on defining outside-in processes with Project Zebra. He was excited. “Keep going,” he said.
After March, I tried to keep him updated, but the phone quickly went to voicemail. The treatment and the disease took a quick toll. Our last call was the third week in March. He quickly lost the ability to use his phone.
Going Forward By Going Forward
Tuesday, I will travel to his wake. I want to tell him about the pilots with BSH and Western Digital and ask him to moderate the panel at the Supply Chain Insights Global Summit on outside-in processes that will definitively document the value proposition, but to no avail. He is a passionate supply chain advocate gone too soon.
His favorite saying was, “Go forward by going forward.” As I go to the wake, I am sorry we did not finish the work, that we set out to do together in a meaningful way, but I am glad that we reconnected after AMR to work together. Life is fragile and short. Roddy, “I will keep going.” This is the task in front of me.
Roddy Martin, rest in peace. I will never get the opportunity to share the pilot results with you on outside-in-process testing, but somehow, I feel your presence. I believe that you are smiling that I continue the work. I hope that you find a cold beer to your liking in heaven…