A Roadmap for Designing an Enterprise that Thrives During Supply Chain Disruptions
We’ve arrived at mile markers 7, 8 and 9 on the road to building lasting resilience and agility into your extended supply chain. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.
You’ll recall that the catalyst for this 4-part series was a renewed sense of obligation and urgency among Logility’s many seasoned supply chain and analytics professionals to share what we’ve learned over the years. As they say at Farmers Insurance, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” (Full disclosure, we thought we had seen it all, but 2020 has no equal.)
Earlier this year we created a task force charged with documenting a program management methodology that would take CEO-driven enterprise-wide objectives and produce a “resiliency roadmap” that all can follow. The idea was to package our learning with a structure that you can leverage and adapt. It’s 12 steps, and in the first two posts I covered steps 1 through 6:
Now let’s cover steps 7 through 9.
- Business Continuity. A long time ago in a business climate far, far away, business continuity was an IT responsibility, often paired with terms like disaster recovery, fail-over, recovery time objective, and recovery point objective. These were the glory days of the pessimistic approach to confronting supply chain disruptions. Success was defined as not dying.
At Logility, we applaud companies that have in recent years taken a broader, more optimistic view of business continuity. Traditional risk assessment remains essential, but companies should seek competitive advantage during challenging times. One way to do this is by strengthening and augmenting the supply chain.
Before introducing steps 8 and 9, Visibility and Change Management, let’s step back for a moment and critique the 12-step framework. It’s tempting to view each step as discrete and strictly chronological. But the world is messier than that. In reality, Visibility and Change Management permeate or at least influence most of the other steps on our journey.
- Visibility. An enterprise seeking to fortify its supply chain must constantly strive for better data visibility across the entire network. We’ve observed that a certain “lunch bucket” mentality is useful. This step shouldn’t be left to theorists and data scientists. Improved visibility — and therefore improved decision-making — comes from practitioners tirelessly seeking novel insights from reliable data.
- Change Management. This is where all consulting companies begin and end their presentations. There’s a reason for that. Perfect process and perfect technology won’t matter if employees are confused and unwilling to embrace new roles. In other words, culture eats strategy for breakfast. There will be strategy and ownership changes. Be honest. Communicate early and often. The good news is everyone can be empowered to make changes based on objective rather than subjective analyses.
Dry Ice Dry Ice Baby
For homework, think about how you would approach the massive disruption hitting the world’s “cold chain” as COVID-19 vaccines move through final approvals. At the time of writing, here are just a few of the logistical challenges that lie in wait:
- Vaccines like to be kept cool, but cooling requirements aren’t uniform. The Pfizer candidate for COVID-19 has to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius, 50 degrees colder than any current vaccine. That will be an issue for developing countries and for rural areas in the developed world.
- Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. What’s going to happen to the carbon dioxide supply?
- Dry ice can be dangerous to handle.
- Transportation is one thing, but what about storage? Consider what storage in California while wildfires are raging will be like.
- Coordination of construction and maintenance of databases that track who’s received what vaccine, where and when.
- Most vaccines are likely to require two doses. The whole effort must be repeated within weeks.