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Resilience - Thinking beyond COVID-19

The consequences of COVID 19 pandemic emphasise how manufacturing Supply Chains (SCs) are crucial to...

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Posted by Dave Food on Jul 20, 2020 6:12:40 PM
Dave Food

The consequences of COVID 19 pandemic emphasise how manufacturing Supply Chains (SCs) are crucial to the process of delivering products and services, vital to life. SCs interact widely with governance and nature too, making the interconnection of all these different environments incredibly intricate due to the lack of organisational resilience to face harsh human-made or natural calamities. 

This global pandemic is hugely disturbing all areas of the economy and society, forcing from SC experts urgent decision-making scenarios.

How to strengthen resilience during disruptions?

To building resilient manufacturing SCs, you need to enhance and re-build the capabilities for the future and to integrate structural operational designs, focusing on responsiveness, globalisation, sustainability insights, agility, visibility, resilience, and viability.

Some of SC components:

RESILIENCE is the ability to withstand a/or a series of disruptions, recovering its performance and securing the SCs viability of the future. 

The pandemic reveals that in the presence of unexpected episodes, SC resilience to disruption demands being checked out at the level of viability to avoid SC and market breakdowns and to safeguard the procurement of merchandises and services.

VIABILITY is the capability of the SC to keep afloat in risky ecosystems, the reshaping of current processes and reconsidering operations with a long-term view.

·       It is an adaptable structural SC design for supply/demand allocation.

·       It establishes and controls adaptive mechanisms for transitioning along with structural designs.

·       It sorts out managerial, operating, financial, communication and technological structures.

·       It can be of benefit for decision-makers to design SCs that can react adaptively to both positive changes or negative disturbances, to either recover during short-term disruptions or long-term.

·       It supports organisations in guiding their decisions on recovery and re-building of their SCs after global-long-term crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUSTAINABLE SC is the capability to operate harmonising with nature and social advantages.

How to make the most out of digital technologies in SC management

Digital technologies can significantly support to soften serious risks outcomes unsettling global SCs in the course of spreading disruptions such as epidemic outbreaks. Consider the advantages of technological developments, innovations, and market growth, to react to positive changes, sustaining and recovering from disruptions to fulfilling demands.

Think about preventive control practices to support your company, such as reinforcing up supply, real-time monitoring, visibility, transportation set-ups, contract out capabilities, risk lessening inventories, omni-channel and data-driven. Such techniques will make your company much more relax to overcome the pandemic.

Resilience has to do with taking advantage of digital technology deployment, as Data Analytics, robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Industry 4.0, Blockchain, Digital Twin, suppliers’ portals, Omni-channel, but above all, workforce re-learning “the new norms.”

For some SCs, demand has significantly escalated getting out of control, so, suppliers were not capable of fulfilling the numerous requests for disinfecting spray, face masks, hand sanitiser, putting in risk the society and market services.

For other SCs, demand and supplies have radically declined, causing production to stop; bankruptcy probabilities were nearby, resulting in companies’ imperative request for governments support.

 A multi-structural SCs framework

The SC network entirely interconnected secures providing markets and society with demanded products and services, whilst levelling society, economy, governance and nature. Most importantly, SCs require for established-manageable mechanisms to transition fast along with multiple-structural designs, mainly focusing on:

·       Agility-oriented cycle.

·       Resilience-oriented cycle.

·       Survival-oriented cycle.

This unlikely dynamic demand is changing some traditional perceptions regarding SC resilience and viability. For instance, COVID-19 openly makes evident difficult, and often unanticipated correlation among healthcare, pharmaceutical, industrial, and food supply chains.

The primary responsibility is of adaptation and recovery mechanisms, their design, the implementation of new processes and technology, and training of the workforce, simultaneously.


FINAL COMMENTS: the COVID-19 pandemic has brought brand-new light challenges for SC and operation management. Resilience is central to ensuring the viability of the SCs recovery. It requires an integrated-framework carried out for collaborative-long-term solutions along with other elements of SCs ecosystems to find collective answers to the crisis, as an integrated unit.

Is your company pondering a resilient culture?


Dave Food

Prophetic Technology

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