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Monday, May 25, 2020

Useful Plans vs the Activity of Planning

Below the intro to former IBMer  Irving Wladawsky-Berger article on planning vs plans ...  much more at the link.  I like especially the differences when you meet with different kinds of events and seek cures for them.  Resilience has to address all of them meaningfully,  risk management is one key tool.

Even When Plans Are Useless, Planning Is Indispensable

“As scientists race to develop a cure for the coronavirus, businesses are trying to assess the impact of the outbreak on their own enterprises,” wrote MIT professor Yossi Sheffi in a February 18 article in the Wall Street Journal.  “Just as scientists are confronting an unknown enemy, corporate executives are largely working blind because the coronavirus could cause supply-chain disruptions that are unlike anything we have seen in the past 70 years.”

Sheffi is Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics.  He’s written extensively on the critical need for resilience in global enterprises and their supply chains, - including The Power of Resilience and The Resilient Enterprise, - so they can better react to major unexpected events.  Covid-19 is the kind of massively disruptive event he had in mind when he wrote those books.

While learning from historical precedents is always a good idea, recent supply chain disruptions - the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Asia, the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, or the 2011 Thailand floods, - were very different from our current pandemic.  Those events were much more localized, lasted a relatively short time, and they mostly impacted supply, not demand.  The impact of Covid-19 is much bigger, affecting consumer demand as well as supply chains all over the world, and likely to last quite a bit longer.  “Today’s supply chains are global and more complex than they were in 2003,” with factories all over the world affected by lockdowns and quarantines.  Apple, for example, works with suppliers in 43 countries.   ... "    (much more below in the article) 

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