The Year of Global Supply Chain


Maayan Nissan,
Senior Manager at aligntech


Year 2020 has affected global supply chain at an unprecedented speed and scale.

Organizations all over the world faced severe challenges and disruptions throughout their business, with a vast impact on their supply chains. From national lockdowns, travel bans, factories shutdown to global logistics constrains, this year has reshaped the future of supply chain.

The pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains, some organizations were better prepared to asses and mitigate the impact, while others struggled to recap their business, resulting in a major economic change. Many factors have contributed to this situation: demand surge and on the other hand business shutdowns, low financial stability, limited production capacity, worldwide airlines halt.

Immediate needs were the first to be addressed: keeping employees’ safety, procuring basic PPE, serving customers, maintaining basic operations. Supply chain professionals were in the frontline of their organizations, navigating through a fast phased VUCA reality, to assure business continuity and minimize disruptions.

The critical need to implement a strong supply chain infrastructure has been one of the main learnings of this crisis. Industries all over the world better understood the requirement to transform their global supply chain.


1. Proactive Risk Mitigation Plans

Gary Cohn, Former Director of the United States National Economic Council, once said: “If you don't invest in risk-management, it doesn't matter what business you're in, it's a risky business”. Risk-based approach is a mindset which should be implemented in every business, whereas, its purpose is to minimize, monitor, and manage the probability or impact of potential risks.

The process might be followed by DMAIC Lean Six Sigma principles: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. From diversified supply chain to escrow agreements, the number of options is immense and needs to be tailored to the specific business or industry.

2. Mission-Based Teams

The recovery time and path are much dependent on the merit, experience and availability of the “risk owners”. As such, their prompt action plan is key.

Setting up a prompt recovery plan evolves nominating a dedicated mission-based team to monitor and manage the risk mitigation plan. The team has to be certified, knowledgeable and available for the required process.

3. Leveraging Scalable Technologies and Tools

One of the key factors in a successful supply chain is enhancing technological aids, to support the volatility and adequately monitor performance.

There are numerous tools, automated or manual, to support operational excellence, and as remote work becomes more common, technology will play a leading role for many advanced organizations.

4. Visibility

Visibility across the extended supply network is essential at all times, nonetheless, in turbulent times. Relevant data should be visible across the organization, and at times of business risk, should be presented at an executive level.

Basic visible tools would evolve an executive risk assessment summary, focus areas, prioritizations and required resources. The steps and timelines of the process should be clearly stated.

5. Market Research

Long-term strategy should include constants market research, to follow the trends and attempt to predict the market’s paths. An early detection of trends would usually yield optimized financial and supply results, while strengthening the organization’s position.

During chaotic times, of which the situation is extremely ambiguous, it becomes far more critical to research and provide alternatives.

Exchange valuable non-proprietary information - Other companies and industries may monitor the same areas, the digital era provides opportunities to communicate with professionals all over the world and utilize a significant knowledge environment.

6. Enhanced Engagement

Leverage engagement with worldwide teams, colleagues and business partners. The “new normal world” provides many learning opportunities on how to optimize engagement capabilities - leading global teams remotely, maintaining global partnerships while travel are banned, maintaining strong communication and teamwork and much more.

Engagement can thrive in turbulent times, given the right attention and priority. Some imperative are: Communication – creating an open ongoing discussion channel Clarity – providing clear and reliable information at all times Routines – periodical meetings and conversations for a long-lasting relationship


Year 2020 has been a year a critical period for global markets and has reformed many industries. This year has changed the way supply chain organizations are perceived and act. Sustainable organizations are recommended to focus on enhancing their supply chain foundations, while creating a smart global footprint to serve at all times.

Resiliency is far more important during times of crisis and is key in businesses recovery. Long-term strategy, agile supply chain and proactive risk management plans are mandatory at all times and are proven to be critical for any business.

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