Stop … Take a Breath and Plan for the Future!

By Noha Samara | October 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

Supply ChainPower of the ProfessionSupply Chain Planning

Imagine this. …

On a sunny morning, you’re sitting at your desk enjoying your first cup of coffee and reading your emails. Suddenly your phone rings. It’s your son’s school clinic calling for you to pick him up; he fell down the stairs and can’t move his leg properly.

You take your car and rush to the school. But, on your way, you start hearing strange sounds coming from the car. One of the tires is flat. In a Formula 1 type of act, you quickly get the tire changed and head to the school. You pick up your son and get him checked out at the hospital. Luckily, all looks well. It’s just a minor inflammation. All he needs is rest.

You head back home. But, unfortunately, you discover that there’s no electricity. Authorities are still trying to turn it back on because of floods. A few hours later, it starts to rain. It becomes windy and suddenly you hear a big bang outside. A fallen tree has crushed your car!

You feel exhausted, out of energy and probably overwhelmed — as if you’ve been running an endless marathon. A series of different disruptions has just turned a day that started off well into a series of difficult issues and big problems.

But isn’t that what our supply chains have been facing throughout the past three years?

Supply Chains are Having a Hard Time

From trade wars to Brexit to a worldwide pandemic, to global lockdowns, to different natural disasters and finally the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, our global supply chains have been put to the test by all these disruptions. And yet, the frequency and magnitude of the disruptions are increasing.

Supply chain leaders have been expected to deliver and navigate through those disruptions no matter how challenging and uncertain the future seems. Sudden demand changes, increase in the logistics costs, surge in the energy prices and extended components and materials lead times — this is what we have been firefighting every day over the past couple of years.

Many supply chain organizations have been so focused on managing the short-term delivering this month’s, this quarter’s and this year’s results without looking beyond. They might have also created several meetings, processes and metrics to navigate through the different disruptions with the mindset of crisis management.

Take a Minute, Folks

But let me tell you: This disruptive environment is not going away anytime soon. It is high time to STOP, take a breath, reflect and put together a strategy for the future. You need to set a strategy that supports agility, resiliency and continuous improvement over time. It’s past time to stop firefighting, take a step back and think of a consistent and sustainable way of managing uncertainty and volatility.

It’s due time to do the following:

  • What are the top three expectations/contributions from your team to deliver the corporate objectives?
  • What are the top three challenges that you currently have within your team?
  • What are the top three areas that you must prioritize in the coming two to three years?
  • What are the current processes that exist? What processes are missing?
  • What strong skills do you have in your team? What are any other needed skills that are missing?
  • What technology do you have? Are you leveraging that fully?
  • What processes do you need to develop and implement, discontinue or continue and improve?
  • What competencies will you build in yourself and your team? What trainings will you plan to grow these competencies?
  • What requirements and feedback you will provide to your IT on your digital roadmap?

Remember, this is not a sprint, this is a marathon. What got you here won’t necessarily take you there. What will differentiate supply chain organizations is not their ability to deliver under all these disruptive conditions but their ability to sustain steady growth no matter what they face.

Stop and take a breath today … Be ready not only for now, but for the future.

Noha Samara
Director, Analyst
Gartner Supply Chain


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