Holiday Holdup: Can We Solve Our Supply Chain Problems?

“When you make decisions laser-focused on efficiency, you might be missing on resilience.”

– Santiago Gallino, Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, The Wharton School

During normal times, companies look for ways to make their supply chains operate more efficiently. But these aren’t normal times.

Scenes of cargo ships circling ports, offloaded containers with no truck drivers to deliver them, and stores bereft of merchandise that typically overflows during the holiday shopping season are the result of global supply chain disruptions that experts say will take months or perhaps years to resolve.

In the meantime, there is a teachable moment amid all the tension, says Santiago Gallino, a Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions. He said the chaos rippling through wholesale, retail, transportation, and labor is an opportunity for companies to rethink the resiliency of their supply chains.

“When you make decisions laser-focused on efficiency, you might be missing on resilience,” he said during an interview with Wharton Business Daily on SiriusXM. “Companies have discovered if it’s one shock that lasts a relatively short time, you can manage and take the pain and the hit. But when this has been going on for several months, now the issue of thinking very carefully about how you can be more resilient going forward is an interesting conversation.”

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