The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of supply chain management and the industry. Now that the pandemic is over, supply chains deserve to be part of the boardroom discussions. The supply chain does not always get much attention; as far as analogy goes, it can be considered the introvert at the business table. Nonetheless, this does not make it any less important. In fact, supply chain should be a top priority for businesses. This step means preparing for future disruptions, like supply shortages and shipping challenges.
Supply Chain is the Heart of the Business
In the interviews Radu had with some of the leaders in the industry through the Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics Podcast, they often discuss the relevance of proper supply chain management and how critical end-to-end supply chain is for the business. It is even referred to as the heart of the business.
“If you take the analogy of a body, the supply chain is the heart of the body, and what goes into the body is supply chain stuff. Like the heart, supply chain is very important to companies.” – Alexandre Baubert, CSCO, Head of Supply Chain, Signify
The supply chain plays an important role in ensuring the future of the business, especially in managing risks. The supply chain includes everything from the production of goods to bringing the products to the market- having the right plan means that the possibility of a smooth flow of goods is higher. Having an agile and resilient supply chain ensures the future of the business despite the disruptions that may occur.
“Supply chain is like an orchestra director within a company. It needs to understand the different industry sectors, the different logic, and the different ways of working. Otherwise, it becomes a cacophony of music which destroys value and ultimately the company.” – Francesca Gamboni, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Accell Group
Understanding the End-to-End Supply Chain
A supply chain is not limited to the local production of goods, it also extends globally. It is one of the keys to navigating today’s new reality and business environment. Everyone in the supply chain, especially leaders and executives, must understand the entire operation end-to-end—from sourcing materials to bringing the final product to the consumers. Having this holistic understanding, supply chains give businesses a competitive edge.
“Keep being curious as to how that customer’s needs really translate through end-to-end of the supply chain. In that way, you will understand what the risks and opportunities are.” – Brian White, SVP Supply Chain Management and Managing Director
Why Supply Chain Leaders Make Great CEOs
In an article written by Forbes in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, there are three main reasons why Chief Operations Officers (COOs) and Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) are fit to become great CEOs. One of the most notable reasons is due to the adaptability and resiliency they possess. Leading supply chain and operations means they have to face different daily challenges, which requires them to be flexible, receptive, and agile leaders.
In addition, the 26 interviews with global supply chain leaders included in the book, ‘From Source to Sold by Radu Palamariu and Knut Alicke’ revealed the five key components of what makes a great supply chain leader: Collaborative, Holistic, Adaptable, Influential, and Narrative (CHAIN Model). Leaders who collaborate with different teams understand the whole business. Leaders adapt to changes and exhibit resiliency. They influence the stakeholders in addressing some of the leading challenges and narrate to convey the supply chain story and vision.
Understanding the supply chains is crucial to any business and warrants including it in the boardroom discussions.