New Directions in Supply Chain Management: Talk Takeaways

CGB Insights
2 min readDec 9, 2020

Deirdre Mendez, Director, Center for Global Business at McCombs

Our November 18, our Global Shifts Dialogues series featured two distinguished CGB board members. Mark Mirelez, CEO of aerospace and defense system provider BEI Precision, and medical technology consultant Rene van de Zande discussed the impact of the pandemic on multi-tiered supply chains in heavily-regulated industries. Here are some highlights:

Pandemic-Based Changes in Supply Chains:

  • Big data analysis of cost saving strategies, strategic sourcing, and streamlining was in place before COVID-19. The pandemic has significantly increased its use for supply assurance and reliability.
  • A discussion of reshoring that existed prior to the pandemic is now heightened, and will continue as companies try to balance assurance and security issues with the cost of manufacturing at home.
  • Pandemic-based shortages have increased concern about supply assurance and supply chain vulnerability. These will continue to be top priorities moving forward.
  • Government and industry collaboration has increased to speed approvals and deliver innovations. While this enhanced collaboration will likely continue, a key challenge will be to speed processes while maintaining standards for safety and effectiveness.

What Will Define Success and Failure:

  • Supply chain stability means steadily assessing and managing risk. Leaders should monitor data continually to understand their exposure and respond accordingly. Risk assessment must translate into actions that support key suppliers, mitigate sole-source exposure, address transportation challenges, etc.
  • Companies should leverage innovations in digital communication to trim costs and minimize risk. Rethinking the need for brick-and-mortar facilities, in-person work policies, and travel for meetings can enhance competitiveness.

Leadership should be increasingly dispersed throughout supply chains to access knowledge and creative ideas at every level.