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Escaping the complacency trap in your Supply Chain!

Written by Peter-Jan Roose

The supply of goods – or lack thereof – was one of the burning topics amid actions aimed towards slowing the spread of the virus. Although the supply of food and other essentials saw a huge strain on existing supply chains, many companies saw their own supply chain coming to a complete or partial halt.

The past weeks, my colleagues and I had daily conversations with business leaders from a wide variety of sectors. While most rightfully focused initially on cash, many have turned their attention to the definition of a solid exit strategy.

Although a black swan event like the recent Covid-19 outbreak remains unpredictable, it is crucial to grab the opportunities it can bring. We all understand that change is a constant for companies, but we forget that it can create significant competitive advantage for those that adapt quickly.

Don’t Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste. Instead, Use It as a Catalyst for Innovation

Recently, most of you noticed the shift in consumer behavior. A massive boost in e-commerce activity, increased importance of local sourcing and a higher adoption rate of digital services.

Assessing this shift is the starting point of your future success in the Post-Corona era. My colleague Jean-David Thiebaut recently showed the importance of starting with the demand side, as it will lead to a clear picture of the opportunities and threats it entails for your business (

Unfortunately, it does not stop here, you should carefully assess the impact on your entire supply chain.

How “Lean” do you want your supply chain to be?

Covid-19 is regularly called a black swan event, but it is not the only one in recent history. Other recent, less global, events (i.e.: Fukushima, Hurricane Katrina, Brexit, etc.) had significant impact on the supply chain of many companies. However, this time around, complacency should not be allowed to set in.

Beyond the need for increased visibility, improved contingency plans and higher degree of automation, it is time to rethink the Lean mindset.

Is purposeful “waste” really waste at all?

BrightWolves helps you to ask the right questions

Together with our clients, we pursue the common goal of delivering positive and sustainable impact to society and the economy. Instead of focusing on the short-term impact or one topic/chain at a time, we recommend to our clients to think about the full supply chain from the start.

Consumer habits have changed at an unprecedented speed. While some consumers might have shifted more towards online channels, others have completely lost interest. Whatever the answer is, it is crucial to start with a thorough analysis of your new demand and consider short- and long-term effects.

Maybe you can consider re-engineering your current product portfolio with a long-term perspective or look for alternative components to significantly shorten your supply chain. Mitigating the risks and capitalizing on the opportunities will be important in your future sourcing strategy.

Should your operations be closer to your supplier or to your customer? Can you increase your agility and avoid idle capacity? Recently some strengths and weaknesses were revealed within your operations: did you spot them?

Are you optimizing your transportation in the face of future restrictions and distorted supply chains? Do you need to adapt your final packaging taking into account the new demand? Remaining flexible in your distribution will prove important.

Did your strategic safety stock cope with the strain of the past few weeks? Was all your inventory in the location you thought it was? The risk of carrying too much or too little inventory is still there. However, it is important to realize that any change in the previous topics has an impact on your inventory management.

Together with you, we:

  • Ask the right questions

  • Assess the shifts

  • Define how to react

  • Implement and execute swiftly

Contact me at and let’s discuss your situation.


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