Adaptability is Key for Supply Chain Success

  • November 2, 2020

by Mike Wilson, CEO

Having had a long career in this industry with many diverse challenges, I’ve come to know first-hand the importance of adaptability. In fact, being able to adapt to change has been a consistent theme in my career and I believe has been integral to my professional growth and success.

The “when you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails” philosophy is central to my leadership style and I, along with my leadership team, aim to infuse this thinking into our corporate culture of CCM. This agile, resilient and adaptable approach to doing business is especially important when an industry is going through an evolution.

One doesn’t need to look further than the Fortune 500 or S&P 500 for evidence of this in the business world.  Go back ten years or even twenty years and one can see the amount of turnover in those companies.  Clearly there were many factors that led to the rise and fall of corporations such as Kodak and Blockbuster, among others, but just as clear is that these companies were more rigid rather than flexible when facing change and were less able to adapt to the evolving and changing environments that lay ahead. 

As an evolution brings massive change upon an industry, there is no time to dwell on what was or what used to be, there needs to be a swift acceptance of what is and what can be.

COVID-19 has impacted the way we do business in a more significant way than any other event in recent history. Within the supply chain, traditional ways of approaching customer relationships, efficiency and product leadership need to be—and are being– revisited. What we are seeing now is that the ability to adapt to our current reality and seizing upon the 

opportunities being presented will be at the heart of each supply chain stakeholder’s success.

Designed to be responsive and agile, a strong supply chain addresses changing variables in how goods are moved from one place to another.  When one views the challenges we’ve faced recently, we see a supply chain that has been able to adapt, change, and even transform, to assure the continuous flow of goods.  It goes without saying the efficiency, dependability and fluidity of the global supply chain has never been as crucial as it is now. The effectiveness of each partner in the supply chain, and their willingness to collaborate, cooperate, and integrate their services, creates an environment that supports the evolving business needs of today’s supply chain and are at the heart of adaptability.  Driven by necessity and a desire for efficiency, competitors have become collaborators.

New factors impacting supply and demand

The industry is adapting to new dynamics that were not encountered prior to the pandemic. It is critical to remain agile enough to respond to the rapid changes in demand, the nuances of how vendors and customers handle their restart, and the shifts in geographic production.

Here are three key areas that will pressure the adaptability of supply chains in the coming months:

Technology – It is one thing to understand that technology is shaping the future of supply chain.  It is quite another for established businesses who may have operated in a lower-tech fashion to now integrate and maximize new technologies throughout their business.  This requires a deeper level of investment than the technology alone—it requires a technology partner and a well trained staff to ensure the technology is being optimized. Embracing technology is central to adapting to a crisis such as COVID-19, and requires a holistic approach that can support the work culture needed to maintain stability and progress.

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