The ever-changing supply chain | New York University Pace

It’s hard to watch the news these days without hearing about supply chain issues. Lubin Assistant Professor of Management and Management Science Pritha Dutta, PhD has spent much of her academic career studying this topic, particularly the operational and strategic issues facing supply chains and the sustainable management of Supply Chain.

Dutta was kind enough to chat with Rhythm now on a range of topics related to his expertise – from his current research interests, to what the average person should know about global supply chains, to why disruption and innovation make this an exciting field for young business students:

When it comes to global and domestic supply chains, how has the 2020s been different from previous decades?

When you think of the supply chain, the idea is that it’s something linear. But it’s not; rather, it is a complex network of manufacturing facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, logistics companies, and more. distributed all over the world. As we have seen during the pandemic, the disruption or delay of one link can have a major impact on the entire network.

It has become very apparent how vulnerable these networks can be. It also really shed light on the downsides of global supply chains. We have seen how relying solely on foreign suppliers can negatively impact supply chains.

The other main problem in those two years was the shortage of labour, which we are still talking about – the lack of personnel in the factories, the lack of truck drivers to move materials from the factories to the warehouses or to retail stores. The importance of labor in the effective management of supply chains is undeniable.

The last thing I want to mention here is that we’ve seen many companies opt for omnichannel strategies, where you have the option to buy in store, buy online, or order online and pick up in store. This gave consumers a lot more flexibility, which was needed during lockdown. The pandemic has forced many companies to adopt an omnichannel strategy that they may not have had before, necessitating an adjustment in how companies manage their supply chains.

What lasting effects do you think the COVID-19 pandemic could have on global trade and supply chains?

Over the years companies have focused on streamlining supply chains: you don’t want to have excess inventory, you want to cut costs, move your shipments only when needed or just before they are required.

This is something that will no longer work. Companies are now moving towards the model just in case. You need to have excess stock in case there is a further disruption or an increase in demand.

Second, every crisis is an opportunity for innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed companies to be more innovative in terms of the technology they use – better use of advanced analytics for demand forecasting, increased transparency and traceability from supply chain to manufacturing. using technologies such as blockchain, Internet of Things, etc.

And with regard to globalization – previously the focus was on outsourcing operations, particularly manufacturing, to countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia to reduce costs, which has been a driving force for supply chain innovations in the past. But there has been a shift – conversations and discussions to bring things down to earth.

This brings us to the discussion of the need to diversify suppliers. Companies should consider broader geographic diversification of their supplier base now. Having some kind of production capacity to meet regional demand will also be important. These are certainly changes that we are seeing and are here to stay.

When you think of the supply chain, the idea is that it’s something linear. But it’s not; rather, it is a complex network of manufacturing facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, logistics companies, and more. distributed all over the world. As we have seen during the pandemic, the disruption or delay of one link can have a major impact on the entire network.

Why should the average citizen know how supply chains work?

It affects us all. More so for ordinary people, we care about the costs. And if costs go up for producers, if they go up through the supply chain, that ultimately affects us.

Is it the right time to buy a car? Certainly not, as there are worldwide shortages of chips, which affect car production and consequently car prices.

I think it’s also important because we’re so used to two-day Amazon Prime deliveries that when it takes a little longer, we get restless and restless. Throughout the pandemic, it’s also been a learning process for consumers – know when to place your order, understand that you might not get something right away.

Moreover, it helped us to understand our consumer behavior. Collectively, we do so much mindless consuming that we don’t necessarily think about what happens between the time we place an order and the package that is delivered. I hope this will make us more aware of how we consume. Instead of placing an order on Wayfair for a sofa, why not check out your local market or thrift store?

Finally, it can make us more sustainable. Personally, the disruptions of the past few years have changed the way I do my shopping. During lockdown, I switched to startups like Misfits Markets and Imperfect Foods for grocery delivery, which also help reduce food waste. These are the innovative spaces that supply chain disruptions have created.

Do you have anything else to add?

In many of these areas, we have already seen that problems resolve themselves slowly. But there are still areas—in health care, for example, I’m sure you’ve heard about the shortages of infant formula—where there are problems. There might be areas where there is a more lasting impact. Not just COVID-19, but any geopolitical event can disrupt global supply chains. Supply chains need to be more resilient so they can continue to operate effectively and efficiently even in the face of crisis.

What I want to say to students is that this is an exciting field — and it’s getting more and more exciting because of these opportunities for innovation and seeing things differently. To be involved! This is the perfect time to study this subject and get into this field.

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