Understanding the Future of Global Supply Chains
The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed vulnerabilities in the supply chains of global enterprises everywhere. This is motivating businesses to reassess their supply chain design for resiliency, yet most companies are currently finding it very challenging to make their global supply chains more resilient without weakening their competitiveness.
To address these challenges, Coupa recently hosted a Harvard Business Review webinar, Global Supply Chains in a Post-Pandemic World, featuring Willy Shih, Professor at Harvard Business School. Shih discussed the critical areas that supply chain leaders should focus on to prepare their supply chains for the future, including how to:
- Use the crisis to understand vulnerabilities and reassess supply networks
- Diversify your supply base to decrease risk and increase resiliency
- Take advantage of process innovations like automation and robotics
- Embrace globalization during this time of economic nationalism
Learn the Capabilities Your Company Needs to Navigate What Comes Next
Shih shared insights into how global supply chains came to be the way they are and how their vulnerabilities have been revealed through numerous crises. He discussed the tradeoffs and opportunities for enterprises seeking to make their supply chains more robust to withstand future challenges.
“The crisis has unfrozen a lot of established processes, and I see organizations that are seizing that opportunity and saying, ‘I’m going to look for new ways of working,’ and I think those organizations are destined to thrive.” —Willy Shih, Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Key Takeaways from Supply Chains in a Post-Pandemic World
- Global production systems are the result of trade expansion and ultra-specialization.
- Today’s supply chains are marked by “deep tiering” and limited visibility.
- Global supply chains have been destabilized by the shocks of the past 12 months.
- The rapid increase in trade at the end of 2020 presents severe logistics challenges.
- The results of this year-long disruption is a focus on supply chain resilience.
- The need for supply continuity offers opportunities for innovation and simplification.
The crisis has incentivized organizations to accelerate the adoption of new supply chain design technologies that are far more agile and continuous than the project-based approaches of the past. Forward-leaning firms are innovating with continuous supply chain design built on data and powerful AI to make smarter, faster supply chain decisions — and forging a leadership position in their markets.