This year’s COVID-19 pandemic shoved risk management and resiliency to the top of the list of priorities for supply chain leaders. But what does it take to actually create a resilient supply chain? A panel of supply chain experts gathered virtually for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) EDGE 2020 conference, offered the following tips.
Know who’s in your supply chain. Many companies still are not able to map their suppliers’ supply chains, according to Dale Rogers, ON Semiconductor Professor of Business at Arizona State University. Rogers acknowledged that conducting such a mapping exercise is “always expensive and time consuming” but says it’s increasingly necessary to do as the number of supply chain disruptions increase.
Plan ahead. Simply having a plan on paper before a risk event hits can go a long way toward responding efficiently and effectively, according to Rob Haddock, group director of planning and logistics for The Coca-Cola Co.—North America. Haddock stresses that the plan does not even have to be a perfect match for the particular event.
For example, while Coca-Cola North America did not have a pandemic risk management plan before this year, the company did find that it’s risk management plan for hurricanes provided an effective framework, he said. During the pandemic, people shifted where they purchased beverages away from “out of house” locations and toward grocery retail. A similar dynamic often occurs after a hurricane, said Haddock.
Have a crisis management team. Part of that risk management plan should be a framework for who does what during a crisis. According to Simon Ellis, supply chain vice president, at the analyst firm IDC, companies that have responded the best to the COVID pandemic have been ones that had a pre-defined crisis management team. While these team members may not work in risk management full time, according to Ellis, they are identified as the “go-to” resources within the company, which allows the company to respond more quickly to an event.
Take advantage of emerging digital technology. One way that The Coca-Cola Co. is trying to become more resilient in North America is to use artificial intelligence to process all the information that company is receiving so that it can identify and respond to events in real time, according to Haddock.