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Realizing the full potential of supply chain resilience surveys

As supply chains become more complex and nuanced, surveys about their performance have to keep up to develop strategies that counter disruptions. Here’s a straightforward, two-step process for turbo-charging survey data and building back resilience.

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the November 2022 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

November 2022

Are you resilient? It’s not an idle question. If there’s one word that I’ve heard at every supply chain event I’ve attended this year, its resilience. It is, of course, in response to the last few years in supply chain management. I think its fair to say that supply chains have been knocked to the canvas more times than Rocky. What has become clear as we do our post-pandemic reviews is that the firms that demonstrated the ability to get up off the canvas and keep punching were those that invested in resiliency before the pandemic—even if they didn’t use that term.
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Lately, there has been no shortage of supply chain disruptions. Similarly, there’s been no shortage of efforts by supply chain executives to develop strategies to accommodate and overcome these disruptions and increase supply chain resilience. Unfortunately, the disruptions still have the upper hand.

Efforts to develop supply chain strategies for resilience have typically started with surveys to assess what happened and how companies have responded. And this newly collected information typically led to actionable strategies that coped with disruptions. But this time around, effective strategies haven’t been quite so easy to develop. Clearly, there is a need to modify how surveys are designed in the first place to extend their value to supply chain managers. Fortunately, doing that isn’t so difficult.

The unit of analysis gap These surveys usually focus on supply chain resilience based on all of the companies in the sample as the units of analysis. A typical observation would be “x% of all companies regionalize their supply chain.” In some survey reports, industry-specific differences are analyzed. This can lead to interesting insights. However, companies operate within idiosyncratic environments that actually create a need for more specific and differentiated analysis than previously available.

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From the November 2022 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

November 2022

Are you resilient? It’s not an idle question. If there’s one word that I’ve heard at every supply chain event I’ve attended this year, its resilience. It is, of course, in response to the last few years in…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the November 2022 issue.

Lately, there has been no shortage of supply chain disruptions. Similarly, there’s been no shortage of efforts by supply chain executives to develop strategies to accommodate and overcome these disruptions and increase supply chain resilience. Unfortunately, the disruptions still have the upper hand.

Efforts to develop supply chain strategies for resilience have typically started with surveys to assess what happened and how companies have responded. And this newly collected information typically led to actionable strategies that coped with disruptions. But this time around, effective strategies haven’t been quite so easy to develop. Clearly, there is a need to modify how surveys are designed in the first place to extend their value to supply chain managers. Fortunately, doing that isn’t so difficult.

The unit of analysis gap These surveys usually focus on supply chain resilience based on all of the companies in the sample as the units of analysis. A typical observation would be “x% of all companies regionalize their supply chain.” In some survey reports, industry-specific differences are analyzed. This can lead to interesting insights. However, companies operate within idiosyncratic environments that actually create a need for more specific and differentiated analysis than previously available.

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MR

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