Closing Keynote: Post Pandemic Supply Chain — Lessons Learned, What’s Changed, and What Black Swans Should We Be Looking For?

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Closing Keynote: Post Pandemic Supply Chain — Lessons Learned, What’s Changed, and What Black Swans Should We Be Looking For?

2020 and 2021 (and 2022 so far) have been amazingly difficult years for all industries.  Companies participating in global supply chains were the hardest hit, particularly those relying on offshore material suppliers.  Extreme, never-before-experienced volatilities in global demand, supply, logistics, talent availability, and never-ending medical restrictions and regulatory confusion; pushed even the most resilient companies to high levels of enterprise stress.  These volatilities manifested in longer lead-times, and continual difficulties in achieving customer expectations.

When the United States entered the pandemic lockdowns in March of 2020, several industries were partially insulated in their supply chain, since because of the onset of the Chinese New Year, distributors and warehousers of Chinese made goods outside of China proper, had of necessity stocked their facilities in North America and elsewhere with approximately 3 months’ worth of normal demand.

Companies with sufficient balance sheets also had developed action plans to carry safety stock of certain items, that were either seasonally available, or deemed essential for ongoing production requirements.

By the summer of 2020, the just in time supply chains were largely just out of business, in terms of having materials to deliver, given the paucity of goods being produced, or means to transport same.  By the fall of 2020, well capitalized companies in food, pharma, and even automotive industries (when able to produce), were starting to run out of safety stocks, and tragically seeing productivity grind to a halt.

Some companies did not survive.  Others barely survived, and some flourished.  For those that flourished, it was not about what they did DURING the pandemic that contributed to their successes.  It was more about what they did BEFORE the pandemic, and how those actions supported their resiliency needs during the pandemic years.

In addition to these challenges, numerous state actors (governments) have begun aggressively applying supply chain policies designed to shape their countries’ supply chains, in ways that benefit their (national) constituents, often at the expense of U.S. companies.  Supply chain leaders must now become students of national interests, and how those interests will impact the global supply chains their companies depend upon.

In March of 2021 (the one-year anniversary of the onset of the global pandemic), who could have anticipated the Suez Canal Blockage, and the resulting chaos in supply chains everywhere?

In the summer of 2022, we are now witnessing the loss of refining capacity driving up record diesel prices, just when truckers are beginning to benefit, as companies actually start onshoring supply chains.  As Russia and Ukraine continue in armed conflict, things as basic as sunflower seed and oil products, or seat covers for automobiles, as well as wheat and other grains, are experiencing their own nightmares in terms of logistics, prices, and availability of alternatives.

Mr. LeDoux will share how his company prepared for the unimaginable and focused on supply chain resiliency in its pre-pandemic manufacturing strategy.  Success factors included:

  • Successions plans for talent,
  • Advanced purchase of critical materials,
  • Building a capital base in anticipation of shortages and higher prices, and
  • Building an employee direct communications process in the event of a major disrupting event.

Mr. LeDoux will share these and other success factors, as well as actions his company deployed, that ultimately resulted in substantial volume, profit, and market share improvements… all while many competitors were struggling to survive.


Mark LeDoux
Chairman & CEO
Natural Alternatives International, Inc.
Event Details
  • Days
  • Start Date
    October 3, 2022 1:45 pm

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