Moving from a Fragile to Fit Supply Chain

In a recent analysis, global research and advisory firm Gartner outlined the key differences between “fragile” and “fit” supply chains in relation to how they respond to disruptive events. The key takeaway? A fit supply chain is well-positioned to use disruption as an opportunity for improvement, while the same disruption is likely to leave fragile supply chains falling further behind.

Recent events have highlighted the urgent necessity for organizations to toughen up their supply chains. As Simon Bailey, a senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, explains on Gartner’s website, “Disruption is not a short-term situation, but a long-term trend that will most likely accelerate as we face climate change impacts, global power balance shifts, and more. In the future, disruptions will occur more frequently, and supply chains must be able to deal with whatever is coming next.”

Here are some steps supply chain leaders can take to move from a fragile to a fit supply chain in the months and years ahead.

Focus on larger structural shifts, not short-term operational challenges

Navigating day-to-day operational challenges can often take up all of a team’s time and energy. When short-term disruptions like a sudden shift in supply and demand leave staff running around like headless chickens, long-term strategy can get left by the wayside.

Overcoming these immediate challenges is certainly important. But when a new one presents itself every week, supply chain leaders need to help their teams take these challenges in their stride without losing sight of the bigger picture. Gartner notes that a fit supply chain is one in which staff are able to look at the disruption and identify structural shifts—like implementing transformational new technology—that could drive greater value down the line. Without capitalizing on disruption to improve operations, it will only ever be painful.

Prioritize long-term investments, not immediate performance

The events of the past year sent many supply chains into survival mode, with leaders making cuts quickly and deeply. Unfortunately, Gartner’s analysis found that this approach can do more harm than good in the long run. When short-term survival is at the forefront of their minds, leaders often deprioritize strategic long-term investments—making their supply chain more fragile in the process.

In a fit supply chain, emergency cost-cutting efforts have to take both short- and long-term effectiveness into account. Leaders need to recognize that some strategic investments may not deliver an immediate pay-off, but that doesn’t make them any less necessary—and failing to make them can put a company on the back foot when it needs to make progress the most.

Build a fit supply chain today

At CTSI-Global, we’re here to help you whip your supply chain into shape. Whether it’s providing outsourced solutions to take the burden off your staff so they can focus on the bigger picture or bolstering your organization’s resilience with leading-edge logistics technology, we can help you build a fitter, future-proof supply chain—because who knows when the next disruption will strike?

Don’t leave your supply chain vulnerable. Contact us today.

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