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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Possible Meat Shortages Due to Plant Closures

Possible Meat Shortages Due to Plant Closures

Three of the United State’s largest pork processing plants, namely Tyson Foods, Smithfield, and JBS, were closed because employees their tested positive for the coronavirus.

The plant closures reduce the production of meat by 25% and may result in meat shortages in grocery stores.  In addition, farmers are impacted as they cannot sell their livestock to be processed, leading to a serious food waste issue that exacerbates disruptions to the meat supply chain.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the Eco Watch article, Tyson Foods Warns of Meat Shortage Following Coronavirus Slaughterhouse Closures, by Olivia Rosane, April 28, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Video Spotlight. Image source: John A. Rizzo/Digital Vision/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect the meat supply chain?

Guidance: The pandemic affects  the downstream and upstream meat supply chain.  The production of meat is reduced by 25% because meat processing plants are closed as workers are sickened with the coronavirus.  Continue reading

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