Resilient supply chains - A blueprint for supply chain systems fit for the future
Recent headlines have been dominated with reports of disrupted and broken supply chains affecting consumers and businesses across the world. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of many supply chains, with the added complexity of the UK’s departure from the European Union creating a further challenging regulatory layer which businesses must navigate and respond to.
Leidos has formally launched its Resilient Supply Chains paper, co-authored by Professor Richard Wilding and Dr Malcolm Wheatley. Professor Richard Wilding, of the Cranfield School of Management, is recognised globally for his thought leadership in logistics and supply chain management. Dr Malcolm Wheatley, also a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management, specialises in the areas of supply chain management, procurement, and manufacturing.
The research sets out in stark terms that a fundamental, attitudinal shift is taking place in relation to supply chains. As Professor Wilding notes, “whereas once procurement was all about procuring for cost… increasingly, the focus is moving to procuring for resilience”. At Leidos, we have seen this in action.
Since 2015, through our management of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Logistics Commodities Services Transformation Programme (LCST), Leidos has been at the vanguard of revolutionising and enhancing the UK’s defence supply chain. Embedding resilience has been a fundamental element of that.
During the pandemic, for example, the deployment of armed forces personnel, as well as the delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and vaccine supplies, would not have been possible without the military volunteering its supply chains to the needs of the nation at a time of unparalleled crisis. The principles which underpinned the military’s role throughout the pandemic have been employed in operations across the world where Leidos has played a central role in managing the logistics of high-pressure environments, including on the Antarctic continent and the International Space Station.
The main takeaway from Professor Wilding and Dr Wheatley’s findings is that businesses, and nations, will need to adopt extensive measures to improve and protect supply chain systems against the unpredictable sway of geopolitical trends. Resilience is increasingly becoming recognised as the theme and focus of the future. With the volatility of existing systems unmasked by the effects of the pandemic, businesses will need to reflect on their preparedness against the repercussions of an uncertain and erratic future.
Leidos’ Chief Executive for the UK and Europe, Simon Fovargue, marking the publication of this paper has said that it is “all the more timely”, as it “explores Leidos’ approach to establishing resilience in existing supply chains and outlining how to futureproof against similar crises in the future”.
Lieutenant General Darrell K. Williams, Vice President and Managing Director for the Leidos UK Logistics Division, who provided the foreword for the paper believes that “now is the time for serious and urgent reflection”, without which, businesses and Governments “will fail to make the necessary adjustments required by a constantly evolving state of global affairs, and a precarious future”.