Redesigning Supply Chains for Greater Resilience

Nallan Suresh, UB Distinguished Professor of Operations Management and Strategy

Looking beyond COVID-19

Supply chain disruptions appear to be ever more frequent, and with increasing magnitude and impact. A wide range of disruptive events have occurred during the last two decades: acts of nature such as earthquakes, earthquake-triggered nuclear accidents (Fukushima), hurricanes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis, as well as human acts such as cyberattacks, terrorism, global warming, port strikes, maritime accidents, piracy, trade wars, currency manipulation, consumer hoarding and speculation—just to name a few.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed some major weaknesses in global supply chains, most notably in the supply of every-day groceries, and for medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. There is currently a need to reflect and synthesize all the lessons learned thus far through the era of hurricanes, COVID-19 and other events, and systematically diagnose the underlying vulnerabilities plaguing current supply chains.

Presented by Nallan Suresh, UB Distinguished Professor of operations management and strategy, this webinar addresses such questions as:

  • What should industries do to assess risk in every segment of the supply chain, avoiding over-dependence on a limited number of supply sources, geographical concentrations of supply production and distribution, and other vulnerabilities? 
  • In which places in the supply chain should we create surge capacity and reserve inventories? On the demand side, what should industries do to better forecast demand surges and disruptive events, anticipate consumer panic buying and hoarding behavior?  
  • How should companies devise rationing mechanisms to ensure equitable distribution of essential items at critical times? How do we provide supply, inventory and logistics information to reassure customers and deter speculation and gaming? 
  • How do we systematically pain points, so that both mitigation and response are ensured in all supply chains, as we enter an “era of unknown unknowns”?