Get Ready for the Next Supply Disruption

Companies must build the capabilities to anticipate, detect, diagnose, activate resources for, protect against, and track known and unknown-but-knowable risks.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in an era of supply chain disruption and unpredictability that has severely challenged many companies’ planning and processes, and revealed how far prevailing practices are from the ideal. An MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics poll conducted online at the onset of the pandemic revealed that only 16% of organizations had an emergency response center — an established best practice for mitigating and recovering from unplanned interruptions in the physical flow of goods.1

Unsurprisingly, given the pandemic’s disruptive effects, the same poll found that the highest ambition of supply chain managers was to bolster their risk management protocols and tools. The problem with crisis-driven supply chain initiatives that are focused on protocols and tools is that they are only as effective as the ability of the organization to use them. Having that ability requires the systematic development of capabilities to manage for supply disruptions. These capabilities are combinations of people, policies, processes, and technologies that ensure companies can not only plan for and respond to known business and operating risks but also — and more importantly — manage unknown-but-knowable threats and their associated consequences.

We’ve identified six capabilities that fill this bill: anticipate, diagnose, detect, activate resources for, protect against, and track threats. Together, they constitute the ADDAPT framework, which is based on our research into how public agencies and private enterprises experience and respond to supply disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic. In medicine, pathology is aimed at understanding the causes and effects of a disease to guide treatment. Similarly, the ADDAPT capabilities help companies understand the causes of supply disruptions and their immediate and long-term effects, in order to both respond to unfolding supply disruptions and prevent their recurrence.

Crisis-driven supply chain initiatives that are focused on protocols and tools are only as effective as the organization’s ability to use them.[



1. Y. Sheffi, “MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics Coronavirus Response — Part Two,” Supply Chain 24/7, March 25, 2020,

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Comment (1)
Dr. Rabindranath Bhattacharya
I thank the author for this article which has come at the right time. I would like to draw your kind attention  to the following line mentioned in the article.
"Systematically review and evaluate the solutions activated as a rapid response to supply disruptions as desired practices for the long run."
I feel the author should also suggest the methodology to be adopted for reviewing the supply chains of the suppliers from time to time to ensure detection of disruption before it happens. 
In fact, simulation is a wonderful tool which could be utilised to keep alternate routes ready/operating  for such situations. Plethora of softwares  are available in the market like SCM Globe, Anylogic, Forio simulation etc.,  to build up and be ready with the supply of materials through alternate routes and source as well.  Please understand, it's time for parallel sourcing not single sourcing whatever may be the product. We were able to establish an alteranate source (Bosch) for fuel injection pumps for our passenger car division long back and build up alternate supply chain with a new source much before disruption happened. Task was not so easy.
In a globalised scenario it is not so easy to track the movement of materials through the supply chains  and I feel simulation woud be of great help in this regard. You may refer to the chapter on Simulation of my book on "Supply Chain Analytis-Strategies, Models and Solutions" to get an idea.
Dr. Rabindranath Bhattacharya