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How Manufacturers Can Strengthen Supply Chains’ Resilience

Since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, supply chains have faced extraordinary challenges around the world. In the midst of shortages and disruptions, as well as global conflicts, how can manufacturers ensure that they receive the materials they need and deliver their products on time?

At a recent NAM event, attended by more than 75 executives from both manufacturing companies and association partners, Supply Chain Insights Founder Lora Cecere addressed the question of how the industry can build resiliency into the supply chain of the future. Here’s some useful advice from her keynote speech, called “Supply Chain Workshop: Connecting and Securing the Supply Chain for 2030.”

Defining resilience: As Cecere noted, in many cases manufacturers may have different ideas about what resilience represents—and it’s important to settle on a clear definition.

  • “I define resilience as the ability to have the same cost quality and customer service given the level of demand and supply variability,” she said.

Differentiating supply chains: While most manufacturers talk about the supply chain as a unified system, Cecere encouraged participants to differentiate various kinds of supply chains from one another.

  • “We have responsive supply chains that are all about time—things like flu vaccines and bathing suits,” which must be shipped during certain seasons, Cecere observed.
  • “And then there’s the agile supply chain, which is very low volume and not predictable. We can’t measure that in the same way we measure the efficient supply chain, but we need to manage flow.”
  • “We don’t have just one supply chain. We have multiple supply chains,” she emphasized.

Learn more: To hear more from Cecere, attend “Manufacturing in 2030: The Coming Data Value Revolution,” an event of the NAM’s digital-transformation arm, the Manufacturing Leadership Council, Dec. 6-7 in Nashville, Tennessee. Register here.    

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