Strategy Operations

The impact of the pandemic on supply chains

Watch the full recorded broadcast above.

As the current global pandemic upsets and interrupts the world economy, businesses across the globe face unprecedented supply chain disruptions. With supply chain shortages, border closures, and large-scale layoffs, how can organizations weather the storm and future-proof their business for potential future waves?

On Thursday, June 25, 2020 The Ivey Academy hosted a complimentary livestream in partnership with the CVCA to address these concerns. We were joined by a panel of supply chain experts in Deishin Lee, Professor, Ivey Business School; Mario Gross, Chief Procurement Officer, LafargeHolcim; and Marcus Larsson, Partner, Isaac Operations. Together we examined the current situation and explored how supply chains have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The panel then shared lessons learned and discussed strategies that have worked and haven’t worked since the beginning of the global crisis. The discussion concluded with a look to the future: What will change and what will stay the same?

Key webinar content

Core topics

  • A balcony view of the pandemic’s impact on supply chains around the world
  • How global organizations deal with interrupted supply chains and border closures
  • Revising contracts and creating diversification in supply chains
  • The vulnerability of food supply chains to changes in consumer behaviour
  • Logistical and regulatory obstacles
  • Rapid digitization at LafargeHolcim
  • Political pressure for organizations to adopt a regional supply strategy
  • Does Canada have a fewer number of supply options in proportion to other countries?
  • What does the future hold?
  • How to safeguard your organization’s supply in the midst of uncertainty
  • The world’s dependence on China as a manufacturer of goods
  • The practice of transferring a business operation to a nearby country, especially in preference to a more distant one
  • Is flexibility now more important than cost savings?
  • Human capital as the most valuable and trusted resource

Memorable quotes

“Previously we’ve had regional disruptions to supply chains. For example, the tsunami in Japan, flooding in Thailand, the drought in California. Those things are very tragic and the supply chains experience huge disruptions. But other regions can step up and help. This time it’s everywhere in the world and it’s happening simultaneously. The worldwide scope has increased challenges.” – Deishin Lee

“My biggest takeaway is how quickly businesses are adapting and figuring stuff out. A lot of really impressive people are putting their safety at risk by showing up at work and even getting to work just to keep supply chains moving.” – Marcus Larsson

“It’s amazing to see how fast you can make changes when the environment is changing so fast and forces you to adapt.” – Mario Gross

Additional reading

Managing COVID-19: How the pandemic disrupts global value chains, World Economic Forum
Coronavirus Is a Wake-Up Call for Supply Chain Management, Harvard Business Review
Will coronavirus pandemic finally kill off global supply chains?, Financial Times
How The Current Pandemic Is Accelerating Supply Chain Digitalization, Forbes
Pandemic Adaptive Supply Chains: A Future-Proof Approach, SME


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About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.