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Silk vs. Steel: Rebuilding Supply Chains After COVID-19 (ATSC blog)

This content was published on the ATSC blog on May 25, 2020

The word ‘chain’ evokes images of metal links locked together, but this analogy has not been apt for a long time. Terms such as network, ecosystem, and web are far more appropriate. While it takes a pair of bolt cutters to get through a steel chain, a stiff breeze can destroy a spider web in an instant.

Supply chain managers are working on a continuum that extends from steel to spider web. On the one end is a set of nearly unbreakable links, and on the other is a silky thread. Steel is expensive and lacks agility, and while thread is able to flex, it can be destroyed in an instant. As we start to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting business restrictions, the challenge will be finding the sweet spot between silk and steel.

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Procurement and supply chain during a crisis: Stronger together (Fairmarkit blog)

This content was published on the Fairmarkit blog on April 20, 2020

If there is one thing you get used to when you work in procurement, it is that no one outside of the field has any idea what we do for a living. As a result, terminology gets thrown around where it doesn’t necessarily belong. Maybe this sounds familiar:

“Procurement?” someone might say. “Isn’t that the same as supply chain?”

“Well, sort of,” you answer patiently (for the millionth time). “But only parts of the supply chain. We’re focused on the suppliers, products and services, and contracts, but not necessarily how those products physically arrive on location. That’s the logistics part of supply chain.”

“Oh,” they reply. “So what does procurement do again?”

One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the spotlight shone on supply chains. From the food supply chain to the retail supply chain to the toilet paper supply chain, people are starting to understand that it takes a lot of different organizations working together to make that chain, and if a product isn’t available, you can’t buy it.

From procurement’s perspective, recent stockouts might mean that the contract you hold in your hands (or preferably in your CLM platform) is effectively useless. The interconnectedness between supply chain and procurement is critical, especially during these unprecedented times. The very best minds in both procurement and supply chain will be needed to carry our countries and communities through the crisis.

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Practical Advice to help Procurement Weather the Pandemic (ATSC Blog)

This content was published on the ATSC blog on April 20, 2020

Seemingly overnight, every procurement professional’s top priority has become helping their company get through the COVID-19 pandemic and start preparing for the business conditions that are to follow.

We now face more questions than ever before, not to mention unusual working conditions, distributed teams, and challenging market and supply chain conditions. Fortunately, leading procurement professionals also tend to be excellent planners, a skill that will be in great demand over the coming weeks and months.

Although our visibility horizon does not extend far into the future before getting extremely fuzzy, we should always be thinking in the short, medium, and longer term as we do our best to weather this storm.

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Is the industrialized world overly dependent on sourcing from the Chinese? (ATSC blog)

This content was posted on the ATSC blog on February 24, 2020

Acute awareness of China’s impact on global business has been front and center since the onset of the Coronavirus health emergency in late December/early January. First a health emergency, now on the verge of being declared an official pandemic, the Coronavirus has taken a human toll, and a business one as well. Travel has been impeded worldwide, and a number of industries that are dependent upon China for source materials and components have been faced with sudden supply disruptions and shortages.

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Additional reading: Coronavirus Exposes How Much Global Steelmakers Rely on China (WSJ - Subscription required), 6 March 2020

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