The Economist Survey on “the real time enterprise”: “Cisco, for its part, got hit a year ago by a classic `bullwhip effect’ and had to write off $2.5 billion in stock. Its order books did not reflect the real demand. Because of long lead times, customers ordered more than they needed to, as a sort of insurance policy. When the economy slowed down abruptly, these orders evaporated, and Cisco got stuck with components already ordered from suppliers. Cisco’s mishap shows that even the best technology offers no protection against bad management decisions. Yet the firm’s rivals, such as Lucent Technologies and Nortel, are in much worse shape.” - a little out of date, very long, and worth at least skimming