The New Supply Chain: Status Quo

Posted by IMEC on May 7, 2020 3:00:50 PM

Part 5 of "The New Supply Chain" blog series by Mike Loquercio, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Expert.

status quo

As we see the country opening up cautiously and the beginnings of a phased approach to reviving manufacturing, now is not the time to return to the status quo.  We would all agree that manufacturing and the supply chain must be different – and will be different – but are unsure of what our future state might look like.

Given all our concerns with healthcare, social distancing, unemployment, the new workplace with remote learning and our economy, it’s easy to let the focus on supply chain fall to the back of the priority list.

What’s the risk? 

We have learned that we are far more reliable, far more resilient, and far more creative and innovate than we could have even imagined.  I have participated on several network calls discussing the future of the supply chain and have heard comments from senior level executives, like: “I’m not sure if I can afford the new supply chain.”

I think we should take a different approach – “how can I afford not to change my supply chain model”.  In the food industry, the food service market is struggling as they do not have the ability to immediately shift focus and compete in the retail markets.

You will hear terms like reshoring, total cost of ownership, risk management and risk mitigation, reactive capacity, business continuity planning, etc.  Supply chain will be in the spot light for quite some time – especially on the national and world stage.

Depending where you are in the supply chain in your industry – raw material provider, distributor, manufacturer, 3PL, copacker, etc., your approach will be different.  Besides the time commitment and resources required, the financial investment in re-engineering your supply chain is a completely valid concern.

Traditionally we see the total cost of ownership passed down to the consumer – nothing is free.  It’s not just the supply chain; how we work will be different.  Organizations that have large office space in urban locations with multi-story buildings are already thinking about what remote work will look like in the future – it will be different.

I would argue that consumers, buyers, regulatory organizations and our local, state, and federal government demand changes to the supply chain.  We all know that it’s easier to manage change when you are driving the charter, then you are told what the solution needs to be.

Whether you want to use lean techniques, continuous improvement, process mapping, SWOT or any other tools – take the time NOW to complete a health assessment of your end to end supply chain.  My guess, you will identify several opportunities to reduce lead times, improve variability, reduce or eliminate waste or just simply the entire process.

From a famous sports movie – “Don’t get caught watching the paint dry!”


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

Read part 4 of the series: The New Supply Chain: Make a Difference

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.

Upcoming Supply Chain Webinars:

Time to Rebuild: COVID-19 Supply Chain Wake-Up Call Webinar
May 11 @ 11:30 am - 12:15 pm
Learn how reshoring can help to rebuild a shorter, more profitable and resilient supply chain for the future of your company.

Reinventing the Supply Chain Webinar
May 26 @ 11:30 am - 12:15 pm
Learn a lesson from this current crisis and begin making fundamental changes now to prepare your supply chain for future shocks. This session highlights the ideal supply chain of 2030 and key questions to ask as you lead your transition from the current to a more collaborative and accurate supply chain plan. For steps you can take TODAY: Learn about the Supplier Scouting program from IMEC and the IMA, connecting suppliers with those in need of supplies.


Written by IMEC

Topics: operations, supply chain, business continuity planning, Leadership, COVID-19, The new supply chain series

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