supply chains

Supply Chains in a VUCA World

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Recorded: November 15, 2020

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About the podcast

Our supply chains operate in a world that is full of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity; a VUCA world where;

V = Volatility: there is a lack of stability with what being known today changes often without warning. 

U = Uncertainty: there is a lack of knowing all of the variables and being able to accurately predict operating conditions.

C = Complexity: there are multiple competing and overlapping influences that lead to confusion and complicate decision-making.

A = Ambiguity: there is a lack of clear definition that can lead to confusion and increasing the potential for being wrong.

As with logistics and supply chains themselves, that the notion of VUCA was conceived in military undertakings is no surprise.  We have all heard of the “fog of war”, referring to the vagueness and uncertainty experienced in battle; and that “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” from Helmuth van Moltke in the 19th century.  These are both references to VUCA before the term VUCA existed.

Operating supply chains today is also a battle; in fact, a stream of battles running simultaneously and sequenced one after another.  Whether from trade wars and tariffs, or governments commandeering production for national use, or natural calamities causing disruptions; supply chains today face VUCA and supply chain professionals are increasingly pressed to update their risk profiles and be ready to act quickly.

In this episode of Supercharged Supply Chain, Ron and Joseph will discuss some of the challenges facing supply chains and professionals alike as they operate in a VUCA world like at no other time in history; some of the influencers, perils, and countermeasures.

Some of the topics we will discuss include the need to consider;

  • Imagination and the need to learn to expect the unexpected
  • Redundancy so that our risk of having a single source is mitigated
  • Re-shoring and near-shoring so that we can more quickly adapt to changing circumstances
  • Insurance to offer protections against disruptions and also the limitations
  • 3-D Printing (and its future) as a stop-gap so that we can keep producing uninterrupted
  • Carrying larger safety stocks as a form of self-insurance against disruption
  • Forward sourcing to get suppliers to carry inventory closer to where it is needed
Hosts:Ron Leibman – Senior logistics executive, Lawyer for 22 years
Joseph Paris – Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies
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