Part 4 of "The New Supply Chain" blog series by Mike Loquercio, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Expert.
I think we should all take a moment and recognize the extraordinary efforts by everyone involved in healthcare, police and fire departments, emergency responders, research scientists, lab workers, social workers, ANYONE helping feed and shelter the homeless and the entire list of essential employees making a difference.
We are still seeing shortages of PPE and medical equipment, food crops and products with expiring shelf life, stores with empty shelves, and other parts of the supply chain working to make it day to day.
Many of the network groups that I support are asking for supply chain resources to provide input, advice and network connections. Look within your industry, trade associations, alumni groups, social networks, volunteer groups – find a way to contribute! It could be as simple as do you know a vendor that sells pallets to do you know a manufacturer that could produce fabric face masks or face shields.
“Make a Difference” also translates to help your organization recognize the importance of the supply chain and what they can do to improve and innovate. Find your voice, share your insights and experience and continue to keep the supply chain on the agenda!
As we re-open the country, we will stress the supply chain again, unplanned demand for all product categories will disrupt service. In some cases, we will just consume the available inventory – lots of buffer stock! The next several months will be an exercise in capacity and replenishment modeling.
For those in the healthcare industry – I won’t even attempt to predict when you will see the new norm. I will share with you that focus groups are forming NOW, industry leaders, innovation hubs and thought leaders are trying to build cross sectional teams that will begin addressing the shortfalls exposed by the pandemic. Find a way to get involved!
We have learned that manufacturing and the supply chain will rise to the call and that we are far more innovative and flexible than we believe. We have seen example after example of non-standard solutions – Fanatics - MLB jersey company producing fabric masks, Hart Shaffner & Marx reopening a plant to produce fabric masks, multiple universities and innovation hubs using 3D printing to supply face shields and the list goes on and on.
I would challenge every executive, every business owner, every professor and any participant in the supply chain process to commit to change, to be a champion of the supply chain for the future – WHY – it’s easy once you move past a disruption/crisis to not take advantage of the lessons learned, it’s often easy just to go back to the old ways and the standard work.
If you don’t believe in network connections making a difference, you are not as engaged as you need to be. It’s not always 1st degree connections, it’s the 2nd and 3rd degree connections that are making a difference. The old line from the movie – “I gotta guy” is so true!
Over the next several months – find a way to make a difference!
Before you know it, we will be launching the new supply chain and smiling when we reflect on all the success stories!
Read part 1 of the series: The New Supply Chain: Pandemic
Read part 2 of the series: The New Supply Chain: Rebalance
Read part 3 of the series: The New Supply Chain: Reinvent
About the author
Mike has spent over 30 years in the food and food packaging space working as an engineer, operations and multi-plant manager along with supply chain and logistics roles. He has worked with CPG companies - Walmart, Target, and Costco along with food service, grocery processor and distribution accounts. He also has extensive order to cash business systems implementation experience with SAP/JDA.