Ramping Up Retail’s Rapid Response Capability

Ramping Up Retail’s Rapid Response Capability

Retailers can take some immediate actions to improve their supply chains during the pandemic, to create a rapid response capability.

Some of those actions include overriding algorithms to redirect inventory to high-density areas, daily meetings with suppliers, suppliers delivering directly to stores, a reduction in product variety, and a relaxation of same-day/next-day delivery requirements.

See the Supply Chain Digital article for additional recommendations by McKinsey & Company that focus on suppliers, merchandising, distribution, logistics, and fulfillment.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the Supply Chain Digital article, COVID-19: five priorities for retail supply chain, by Georgia Wilson, April 3, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Travel mania/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. Why does the Supply Chain Digital article mention a focus on reducing product variety for suppliers?

Guidance: Guide students thru the model in the article by highlighting that fewer products means faster response throughout the Continue reading

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The Interconnected Modern Supply Chain

The Interconnected Modern Supply Chain

The supply chain for medical needs during the pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses of modern global supply chain management.

In lean operations, demand management, procurement management, and fulfillment management are integrally interrelated. The removal of redundancies in the supply chain, the reliance on offshoring, and the lack of a larger safety cushion are part of the just-in-time global supply chain design.

During this pandemic, the just-in-time system has backfired, causing critical healthcare supplies to be insufficient in both quantity and location.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on The Hill article, Supply chain management is a vital weapon in the war against coronavirus, by Ricardo Ernst and Jerry Haar, April 15, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: McGraw-Hill Education/Sandra Mesrine

Discussion Questions:

1. The article notes that 95% of surgical masks and 70% of tighter-fitting respirators such as the N95 mask are made overseas, mainly in China.  How does this negatively impact the supply chain in getting masks to hospitals in the United States?

Guidance: Continue reading

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JIT Risks in the Food Supply Chain

JIT Risks in the Food Supply Chain

The just-in-time supply chain for grocery store replenishment depends on transportation of food items from around the globe.  Shipping is primarily used to move food items. COVID-19 restrictions have slowed down the movement of goods dramatically.

Most grocery stores carry limited days of inventory and depend on transportation systems all working on time.  The pandemic has exposed a major flaw in just-in-time systems: no extra inventory in the system.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the CNN article, Can’t fine what you want in the grocery store? Here’s why, by Hanna Ziady, April 2, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Tada Images/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. Discuss the limitations of the just-in-time supply chains.

Guidance: The major limitation discussed in the article is a disruption with transportation systems.  Without reliable transportation, just-in-time is not possible.  Students may also note that having little safety stock at distribution centers closer to retailers is another concern. Continue reading

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