MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics

The New (Ab)Normal: Reshaping Supply Chain Strategy

This webinar lays out the key findings of MIT Professor Yossi Sheffi’s latest book, The New (Ab)Normal: Reshaping Business and Supply Chain Strategy, in which he discusses how organizations can enable flexibility and agility and pivot toward the future.

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Prepare your organization for disruption with the latest supply chain planning research from MIT

Prof. Sheffi and Dr. Madhav Durbha discuss the key findings from Prof. Sheffi's research, including:

  • How companies can become more resilient when facing uncertainty
  • Steps for creating a corporate immune system to quickly manage large-scale disruptions
  • Ways to level the playing field between small and large companies leveraging technology
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Civilization depends on supply chains to convert the planet’s bounty into products and to deliver those products affordably to nearly 8 billion humans. Recent world events exposed the critical role supply chains play in helping people, governments, and companies to manage that process.

In MIT Professor Yossi Sheffi’s latest book, The New (Ab)Normal: Reshaping Business and Supply Chain Strategy, he discusses how organizations can enable flexibility and agility and pivot toward the future. In this webinar, Dr. Sheffi discusses the research that he shares in this new book.

Featured Speakers
Dr. Yossi Sheffi, Director, MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics
Dr. Yossi Sheffi
MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics
Justin Walls
Justin Walls
Sr. Account Director, Enterprise
Coupa Software
What I was asked to do is summarize twenty-five years of research, three full books, a hundred scientific papers–so, thousands and thousands of pages–in about twenty minutes, which I agreed to do.
Dr. Yossi Sheffi, MIT Professor and Author


What are various ways to prepare for supply chain disruptions?

The first way to prepare for disruptions in your supply chain is to create redundancy (for example, have more than one supplier and to ensure the availability of emergency inventory). You should also be mapping the location of all of your suppliers’ plants and implement alerts when production problems arise. It is also important to include the Bill of Materials in all supplier plans, so that you can easily identify the value at risk when a disruption occurs. You also should build in cross-training, standardization, and postponement (delaying customization to the last minute). It is also helpful to build a culture of flexibility that will help you adapt to disruptions.

What are the best ways to respond to crisis situations?

It is important to set up an emergency management center as the center of disruption-related communications. Communications between all stakeholders should be effective before the crisis hits, so that people know what their focus should be at the time a disruption occurs, and everyone else knows what is happening. You must ensure that decision-making authority and protocols are established. Furthermore, you should be up-to-date on supplier and product/customer information, so it is important to review supplier, product, and customer information frequently. It may also be important to prepare to reduce the SKUs. Finally, use what you learn through the disruption to plan for the recovery.

What is the best way to categorize risk in your supply chain?

Though there are many ways to classify risk, one way is to map them on a matrix with severity of consequences on the x-axis and the probability of the occurrence on the y-axis. In order to prioritize which risks to prepare for, you may want to focus on the high-probability, high severity risks in the upper right quadrant, but often the focus should instead be on risks that don’t happen very often but could have a severe impact on the business (such as the pandemic). For those who have a potentially severe outcome, be sure to prepare responses, and then drill your teams to execute on the proper responses. A third axis can be the detectability, which measures how much time after the disruption it becomes detectable.