Supply disruptions test resiliency

Lydia Brasell for The Journal Gazette


Butler experts offer advice for postpandemic future

Finding the new normal for businesses has been difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One way for businesses to deal with such disruptions as the pandemic is building a strong supply chain.

Butler University supply chain experts Matthew Caito and Janaina Siegler spoke Wednesday on the importance of resilience and sustainability in business from a managerial perspective. The presentation was part of a Livestream Lunch and Learn hosted by the Northeast Innovation Center through its Women’s Business Center EmPWR Program, which stands for Equity & Prosperity for Women Reimagining their Businesses.

Both Caito and Siegler offered ways for organizations to use many different resources and to take initiative in building relationships with team members in the chain, both now and in the postpandemic future.

Siegler defined resilience as the capacity to overcome disruption, a key word throughout the presentation that is especially relevant as many businesses are experiencing a universal struggle. She also added that resilience should be a valuable skill to add to the business toolbox.

“You bend, but you do not break,” Siegler said. “Disruptions are going to happen all the time. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.”

There are four main factors to consider for a supply chain to become resilient: flexibility, velocity, visibility and collaboration, according to Siegler. Those things can give business leaders an edge in their careers, and implementing just one of the four points will provide an advantage, Siegler said.

The focus should be on recovery moving forward, not the risks at hand, a mindset Siegler called a “dynamic nature.”

Accommodation is, by now, familiar territory for many businesses that have created access to carry-out orders, curbside pickup and limited capacity to sustain their careers during the pandemic, Caito said.

To build resilience and sustainability, Caito stressed the importance of having such things as “Tuesday afternoon conversations” between leaders within an organization. In addition, business leaders planning ahead of a possible disruption who are equipped with flow charts and checklists will be more prepared when it is time to face the challenge.

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