Given current circumstances, I want to give a shout-out to the staff of CSCMP, our sponsors, exhibitors, and presenters—as well as our many members—who demonstrated both their passion and patience in persevering against so many odds to hold our annual conference in-person once more. The CSCMP EDGE Conference in Atlanta was more than a success. It was a victory and a testament to CSCMP and the supply chain profession’s practitioners and academics alike. You showed the market that the world is coming back—and every supply chain professional needed that!
At this point in the year, you’d normally be hearing something like, “Well, 2021 has been yet another year of growth and change for supply chain.” Instead, words like “unprecedented,” “historic,” and “uncertain” have been used to describe a year like no other.
In fact, there has been very little for any of us to draw upon in terms of precedence. The challenges and constraints within our supply chains due to the pandemic became apparent and newsworthy—all the way down to the consumer. Some organizations are still struggling to know where everything is at, and trust in the supply chain has been tested.
COVID-19 may have felt like a Category 5 hurricane that left you battered and bruised—and you’re not alone—but I like to think that supply chain took a direct hit and is still standing. There’s no doubt that the pandemic increased costs and disrupted efficiencies, but it also highlighted the value of end-to-end visibility, data, and analytics.
It’s these learnings that need to be analyzed and shared, so that we all come out of this stronger and more resilient.
There’s no doubt that supply chain resiliency and redundancy are critical. But resiliency is most effective when paired with visibility. Companies need information and knowledge in order to be agile and to make quick decisions. They need visibility not only into their suppliers’ operations but also into their suppliers’ suppliers’ operations.
The supply chain must also be flexible enough to absorb any shocks that come along, including natural disasters, humanitarian crises, tight labor markets, and unpredictable demand. “CSCMP’s 32nd Annual State of Logistics Report” describes supply chains as “continuing to reset from the pandemic with resilient logisticians adapting, planning, and shifting to meet current and future demands.” The U.S. economy is now expected to grow 7.7% this year, hopefully signaling a return to normal.
Or … maybe a new and, dare I say, improved normal?
As your professional organization, it’s our responsibility to provide access to cutting-edge research and unparalleled networking and educational opportunities to help you travel through this new world.
You know that your CSCMP membership and events like CSCMP’s Annual EDGE Supply Chain Conference and local roundtable meetings are the right tools to help you solve today’s challenges and prepare you for the next … and there will be a next.
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