'"Just get me my fucking ponchos." So went the cry of a fashion company chief executive recently, as he realised that the products which usually arrived on time and without hitches from China were held up somewhere between the factory and his warehouse in the UK.'
And who can blame him for being irate? Over the past quarter decade, retailers and others have become used to goods flowing smoothly across the world, arriving ever-quicker and at ever-lower cost.
But a supply chain is a bit like household plumbing. When everything is working well, nobody gives it a thought. When there’s a blockage, the situation becomes very dire very quickly, and everyone realises that they don’t have a clue how the system works. At the moment, blockages are occurring everywhere.'
This is the introduction to Management Today's latest 10 page report, written by Jeremy Hazlehurst, looking at how to build a resilient supply chain.
Changes in the way the supply chain has been managed in recent years, has left many businesses with fragile networks.
As Ryan Peterson, CEO of US freight forwarding company Flexport, wrote recently: “We stripped the shock absorbers out of the economy in pursuit of better short-term metrics."
He believes that the pursuit of better quarterly numbers for big companies has made supply chains less resilient.
MT has spoken to a range of experts about how companies can future proof their supply chain to ensure they don't face the same problems in the future.