As supply chains for critical materials, components and products have shifted and are still shifting, so must our strategic plans for making sure the sources of what we need are adequately "secured." In the concept of continuity of operations, we ae essentially trying to build a plan to keep one disaster from creating another. The pandemic brought this reality into stark and sudden awareness to everyone, as COVID related "shelter in place" and draconian "social distancing" orders dramatically curtailed economic activity worldwide. Factories shuttered, travel halted, schools were empty and stores were forced to close. In many cases, we saw not just reduced shipments of vital materials, parts and products, but the very business lifelines for innumerable firms completely stopped, and with that the livelihoods of millions. Store shelves, based on "just in time inventory,” quickly went empty. Certain products (e.g., masks, cleaning wipes, etc.) had to be rationed, if they were even available.
Now the War in Ukraine and potential conflict in the South China Sea have made us even more aware of the vulnerabilities we face. Gas, oil, wheat, nickel and so many more critical materials have all been dramatically impacted over the last two years. New global alliances have formed, older ones reinforced, and yes, some have crumbled. Many "sacred truths" of the post-Cold War globalization era are being rewritten, and our eyes are being opened to potentially catastrophic consequences if we are not truly prepared.
Mark Mansfield and Hal Kempfer explore the issues, and drill down below the headlines and catch phrases, to develop a far better understanding of not just what this change means, but figuring out what it means we must do. As the great scientist Louis Pasteur said, "Chance Favors the Prepared Mind," this is the chance to prepare your mind.