HBR: Coronavirus Is a Wake-Up Call for Supply Chain Management


Of course, AAPN uniquely has a membership that spans the entire textile/apparel supply chain 'from the dirt to the shirt'.

One wake up call we got several years ago was when Andy Dreher, who produces elastic at G C Moore, shared HIS supply chain. Many inexperienced sourcing workers must think there's a bush somewhere that is tapped to leak elastic.

No, Andy showed us hundreds of items from dozens of supplier JUST to produce elastic waist bands. All companies compete as supply chains, and so do their suppliers and THEIR suppliers. Remember the Air Force fighter pilot axiom, when you get shot down over the jungle, its not the tigers and lions that kill you, it's the mosquitoes…….. in every supply chain lurks a little tiny supplier who can kill like a lion.l 

Coronavirus Is a Wake-Up Call for Supply Chain Management

As procurement teams struggle to cope with the Covid-19 global pandemic, most have been trying to keep up with the news about global response measures and have been working diligently to secure raw materials and components and protect supply lines. However, vital information is often not available or accessible across their global teams. As a result, their response to the disruption has been reactive and uncoordinated, and the impact of the crisis is hitting many of their companies full force.

In contrast, a small minority of companies that invested in mapping their supply networks before the pandemic emerged better prepared. They have better visibility into the structure of their supply chains. Instead of scrambling at the last minute, they have a lot of information at their fingertips within minutes of a potential disruption. They know exactly which suppliers, sites, parts, and products are at risk, which allows them to put themselves first in line to secure constrained inventory and capacity at alternate sites.

Despite numerous supply-chain upheavals inflicted by disasters in the last decade — including the eruption of a volcano in Iceland, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Thailand floods, and Hurricanes Maria and Harvey — most companies still found themselves unprepared for the Covid-19 pandemic. Seventy percent of 300 respondents to a survey conducted by Resilinc in late January and early February, immediately following the Covid-19 outbreak in China, said they were still in data collection and assessment mode, manually trying to identify which of their suppliers had a site in the specific locked-down regions of China. There are a number of reasons for this problem — and potential solutions. Read More