The Covid-19 pandemic has put the nature of global supply chains into sharp relief: how free and open movement of goods and services is a fine principle but one that’s loaded with risk, and that risk is accentuated at every stage when there is reliance on people. Shorter, simpler supply chains, with resilience as the priority, have become an imperative.
The initial flurry of advice from Government to businesses suggested stockpiling after Brexit would be a ‘good thing’. Now there’s an edgy silence - suggesting there’s even doubts over how pro-active supply chains ought to be.
Multichannel and Omni channel supply chains - what are they and what is the difference?
It’s hardly news that several years of intense competition have left traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers reeling - in many developed economies, where consumers switch to online shopping for a growing proportion of their spend.
Make a Google search for images of ‘leadership’ and see what the word still implies: there’s one person at the front of the spearhead, at the top of the triangle; one leader fixing the direction and pulling the rest along with them. It’s an idea that been embedded into our thinking of managers since the 1980s - and I should also say, instilled over the years by business schools - as the ideal to aim for.
Within the supply chain, we all want win-win relationships. The key to this is collaboration but we need to be able to develop collaborative relationships and many businesses underestimate the process required to do this.
Moving toward a sustainable supply chain largely depends on sourcing and supply management decisions and actions. Sustainability in supply chain is typically defined as “the integration of environmental, social and economic aspects of business, which are also known as triple-bottom-line, for achieving long-term economic viability.”
Certainly Supply Chain 4.0 is going to make the numbers sparkle. Nike’s plans to move to a model that cuts lead times from 60 to 10 days are a good example: installing 1200 new automated machines and a move to nearshoring will mean big reductions in shipping expenses, import duties and the risks of over-production, as well as 30% fewer steps in the process.
The new Halloween date for Brexit means supply chains are faced with a round of Trick or Treat in the lead up to October.
If you're concerned about risk in your supply chain, build the temple of supply chain resilience. Your foundation needs to be an effective supply chain strategy. This impacts on the risk profile of the supply chain. Your floor needs to be product design for supply chain management.