Strategic Priorities for Post Pandemic Supply Chains

by Mark Millar, Keynote Speaker, Professional Moderator, Trusted Advisor, Visiting Lecturer, Commissioned Author Global Supply Chain Ecosystems

Cumulative disruptions have exposed the profound interdependencies and inherent vulnerabilities in today’s very complex, global supply chains.
The three colossal ‘Black Swan’ events of recent years – COVID-19, the Suez Canal closure and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine – are being supplemented with numerous economic challenges. Ever increasing costs in Asia, geopolitical tensions and trade tariffs are further de-stabilising supply chains.

Supply Chain Strategies

Every company must now be actively re-thinking their supply chain ecosystem, with a view to diversification and reconfiguration over the medium term, which will inevitably lead to greater simplification, regionalisation and localisation.
Business leaders would do well to focus on three strategic priorities for their supply chain agenda.

1. Resilience

The first priority is to develop enhanced Supply Chain Resilience, where Resilience is the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from adversity.
This entails a multi-faceted approach, reviewing your geographic footprint, supplier base, logistics landscape and distribution networks.
Many companies will reconfigure their supply chains to a much more regional approach, whereby production and sourcing are relocated closer to the final consumption markets, i.e. more local and less global.
Regional supply chains will be shorter and more localised, enabling companies to benefit from reduced lead times, freight costs and emissions, at the same time as increasing control, responsiveness and resilience.

2. Sustainability

Everyone is now ever-more conscious of climate change and the importance of the sustainability agenda. Consumers are increasingly expressing their preferences for products with a lower-impact environmental footprint, and in many cases, are prepared to pay a modest premium. In addition to adopting environmental best practices and implementing ethical sourcing initiatives, the shorter supply chains resulting from reconfiguring the global flows of goods will reduce the environmental impact of international freight transport networks, whilst also reducing fuel costs and shortening lead times.

3. Digitalization

Digital disruption is impacting most industries and people. Predictions are that disruptive technologies are going to automate or displace most of us in the not-too-distant future!

The need for digitalization across the supply chain has been turbo-charged by the huge increase in IoT-enabled devices (Internet of Things) essential for the online connectivity required for working, schooling, shopping and socialising, whether from home, at the office, or on the road.

Robotics and automation solutions – now readily available on pay-per-use service model – will see widespread deployment as production is re-shored back into developed markets, thus counteracting higher labour costs.

And through the rest of this decade, supply chain performance and operational efficiencies will be further enhanced by the advent of commercially feasible and economically viable applications for 3D printing, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.

Conclusion

These critical priorities of Resilience, Sustainability and Digitalisation apply equally to our business life, our professional life and our personal life – and will remain strategically relevant throughout the coming decade. The most important step is getting started.

The journey thereafter becomes one of Continuous Improvement – endlessly searching for, identifying and strengthening the weakest link, relentlessly implementing the “Find and Fix” approach.

The uncertain outlook ahead should remind us all that it is not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones that are most adaptable to change.

Businesses that cannot, or do not, adapt to the new normal of the post-pandemic world will face a very ambiguous future!

About the Author

Mark Millar
Feature Article by Mark Millar International Keynote Speaker, Commissioned Author, Trusted Advisor and Supply Chain Thought Leader

Mark Millar is an internationally renowned keynote speaker; a respected authority on supply chain and logistics; and author of the widely-acclaimed book Global Supply Chain Ecosystems.
A LogiSYM Thought leadership Champion, Mark leverages 30+ years’ global business experience to provide knowledgeable and independent perspectives that empower executives to make better-informed decisions.
A Visiting Lecturer at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Mark is on Advisory Boards at the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Society and the Foundation for Future Supply Chain, and serves as an Advisor to companies large and small, helping clients with their strategic growth objectives and supply chain strategies.

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