Note: Today’s post is part of our “Editor’s Choice” series where we highlight recent posts published by our sponsors that provide supply chain insights and advice. This article is from Alfred Hille at Descartes, and looks at supply chain resilience during waves of disruption.
In today’s world where major global trade disruptions are more the norm than the exception, organizations are increasingly understanding that they have to assess their international business strategy at least on an annual basis, if not more frequently, in order to strengthen supply chain resilience and propel their global growth momentum.
That was the main takeaway from a recent webinar entitled “How to Address Emerging Waves of Disruption and Enable Business Growth”, co-organized by Descartes Systems Group and leading global trade association, Women in International Trade Northern California.
Key speaker, Jackson Wood – Descartes Systems Group, Global Trade Intelligence, Industry Strategy Director – said that the precisely planned and highly-synchronized supply chain networks that made trade flows predictable in the past, require more maintenance, fine-tuning, and tweaks to maximize performance in the current operating environment.
Supply Chain Resilience Threats
Just when we thought we had turned the corner with COVID, along comes a geopolitical turbulence in the form of the Russia-Ukraine war which has thrown the agricultural, metals, energy, and other markets into turmoil. The conflict has also resulted in economic sanctions against Moscow and its allies, giving Russia the dubious distinction of being the most sanctioned country in the modern world.
Layered on top of this is the fact that we’re still dealing with the ongoing effects of COVID, which is manifesting itself in lockdowns in China, along with port congestions globally that don’t look like they are going to be resolved any time soon. And for fear of sounding like the clichéd telly ad when they say “Wait but there’s more…”, there really is more, much more, that affects supply chain resilience on our doorstep now and on the horizon. Brexit is still a work in progress. Inflation is rising. There’s talk of economic downturns. And trade conflicts are coming to the fore again.
“We’re living in an unprecedented period in our history. And the pressures we are facing are not likely to abate in the foreseeable future,” Wood said. “The single strategic point to make at this juncture is that the risk exposure of all these challenges to businesses is significant. And these businesses are trying to figure out how to deal with them, to make their supply chains more resilient to keep their growth potential on track by delivering quality products on time and maintain a satisfied customer base.”
What is Supply Chain Resilience?
In its purest form, supply chain resilience is the art and science behind the smooth running of a system of processes designed to deliver goods and services to consumers, and where these systems can quickly recover from shocks such as pandemics, wars, natural disasters, and trade conflicts. But these shocks aren’t limited to en masse life-changing events. They can include textbook business challenges like new market trends, modifying or adapting consumer behavior, and unexpected competitive moves.
Organizations that can successfully minimize the negative effects of disruptive forces are in a strong position to be able to maintain their trade flows to global markets and ensure their growth trajectory remains healthy. This would also be a significant competitive edge over their rivals.
To read the full article, click HERE.