Coronavirus (Covid-19) measures are seizing up the global supply chain and have become an emergency for board executives. Once more, the lack of risk management, resilience and agility in supply chains has been exposed. The argument for greater automation becomes stronger.
The policy commitment to make Britain the first zero carbon nation by 2050 has all kinds of implications for supply chains, how they’re set up and run.
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.
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.
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.