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COVID hasn’t stopped supply chain progress

Supply chains have been in the spotlight like never before over the last eight months. That hasn’t always been a good thing. The perception, reinforced by shortages of products essential to our daily lives, is that supply chains were not up to the task and failed. The reality, as argued by MIT’s Yossi Sheffi in his new book, “The New (Ab)Normal: Reshaping Business and Supply Chain Startegy Beyond COVID-19,” is that supply chains performed as designed—they did what we expected them to do. Going forward, we need to reshape our business strategies, and, as the title of the book suggests, rethink the way we operate supply chains to perform in a new business—and social—climate.

My own take is that rethinking that path forward was already on many companies’ roadmaps prior to COVID. What’s changed is that the pandemic accelerated the timeline; investments and process changes that were on the calendar three to five years from now got underway in three to five months during the pandemic.

The path forward is a theme echoed in this month’s issue. Morgan Swink and Nada Sanders have been researching digital transformation for the past three years. In the lead article, “Want to build a digital supply chain? Focus on capabilities,” they note that too many supply chain leaders equate digital with technology rather than focusing on the capabilities technology enables.

 

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock

Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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