Coronavirus: redesigning supply chains to withstand disruptions

04 March 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202018252

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RECENT and ongoing global events such as the new coronavirus crisis have highlighted the fragility of existing supply chains when they are suddenly and unexpectedly disrupted.

That’s according to global supply chain expert Dr John Gattorna, who believes that organisations aiming to survive current and future disruptions like coronavirus must redesign their supply chains with dynamic rather than static capabilities.

“Previous supply chain designs have predominantly followed a ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy, on the assumption that this will deliver a lower ‘cost-to-serve’. However, as the operating environment has become increasingly complex and turbulent, this assumption has been exposed as flawed,” he said.

“What we now have to focus on is designing a portfolio of supply chain configurations within the enterprise that are capable of servicing a large part of our target market, under conditions that can vary from stable through to extremely disruptive.

“At the same time, we also have to be able to cater for customers that change their normal buying behaviours because of the changing situation they find themselves in. In other words, we have to embrace designs with dynamic rather than static capabilities.”

Gattorna said the importance of fully comprehensive end to end supply chain operations was becoming paramount as organisations strive to increase customer retention through increased satisfaction.

“The top line will become just as important as the cost-line. This can only occur if we have in place the supporting digital technologies that allow precise management of our products and services as they move through the various omni-channels linking our enterprise with customers.

“Right now, we have the concepts mapped out, but the level of execution is still far from perfect in most enterprises,” he said, adding that many enterprises are at a “tipping point” and will not survive many more crises without decisive action.

Gattorna will be sharing his insights with African supply chain professionals at the 2020 SAPICS Conference in Cape Town, hosted by South Africa’s Professional Body for Supply Chain Management.

“Dr John Gattorna is one of the world’s pre-eminent supply chain thought leaders, and we are delighted to have him as a keynote speaker,” said SAPICS President Kea Mpane.

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