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Disruptions are normal but COVID-19's impact on global supply chain unique, say experts

Experts from MIT, IIM and the corporate sector spoke on ‘Supply Chain and Seven Core Resilience Capabilities’ at a virtual forum held by the Bengaluru-based strategic think tank Synergia Foundation

Published: 08th August 2020 06:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2020 06:26 PM   |  A+A-

Recession, Economy, Loss

Representational image. (Express Illustration)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Disruptions are normal but COVID-19 has thrown up an unprecedented challenge to the world due to its impact on the global supply chain, say experts.

“Many of us had to close operations and make decisions that affect humans and their livelihoods, leaving people helpless. It makes us wonder what we could have done differently?” said Jim Rice, deputy director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL).

Rice was speaking on ‘Supply Chain and Seven Core Resilience Capabilities’ in a virtual forum organised by the Bengaluru-based strategic think tank Synergia Foundation on Friday.

He said that compared to other disruptions, the COVID-19 pandemic is unique. The loss of the seven core resilience capabilities; acquiring materials, transporting, capacity to communicate, convert, human resources, financial flows and distribution to customers and consumers is much more than any other disaster. “There are infinite ways in which supply chains can be affected. Can organizations mitigate every source of financial, strategic, operational risk? Not really,” said Rice.

“COVID-19 has caused huge losses in transport, finance, and all the resilience capabilities. Fortunately, many of these capabilities have been recreated using online resources,” he added.

Director, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Udaipur, Janat Shah said that disruptions are an inevitable part of life. “A lack of disruptions can even be worrying. But the issue with COVID-19 is that it is different in scale, scope and timeframe,” said Shah.

Assessing the impact of the pandemic on the industry, Shah said that some sectors like hospitality and travel are going to be very badly affected. There are, however, some medium scale organisations, which have been agile and quick to respond to emerging needs amid the pandemic, he said.

"Risk management and being aware of our vulnerabilities should be on top of the agenda," he added. Udayant Malhotra, CEO and managing director, Dynamatic Technologies, spoke about the challenge that the industry is facing in balancing resilience, agility and economic flexibility.


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