CEO Summit on supply chain management offers great fun and learnings

How to future-proof your supply chain management and build resilience and agility in the company? This was the topic of Women on Wings’ one-day CEO Summit held on November 9, 2022, in New Delhi. Sixteen of Women on Wings’ business partners joined supply chain experts Florentine Steenberghe and Hilke Tol who addressed recent supply chain developments and presented tools and tips for creating a future proof supply chain.

Unique way of learning
In interactive sessions, including a management game, the participants were invited to share their challenges and opportunities related to supply chain developments and to discuss learnings from the management game. All sixteen participants – social entrepreneurs who partner with Women on Wings on growing their companies so more jobs for women in rural India are being co-created – engaged in lively discussions and played the game, which was described by one of the participants as ‘a way of learning not easy to forget!’

Disruptions create uncertainties and opportunities
The summit was kicked off with an overview of global supply chain developments which merely encompassed a listing of the many disruptions that occurred in recent years: the COVID-19 pandemic, container ship Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal leading to delays in all kinds of cargo payment of invoices, the chip war causing stock problems of finished products and long lead times, and the Ukraine war leading to energy and food shortages and inflation.
These global disruptions all impacted the businesses of the participants. The sourcing of raw materials was stopped, logistic prices skyrocketed, lead times increased, consumer behavior changed, and sales eventually dropped. Some participants also experienced that new opportunities arose: the trend towards conscious consumerism based on trust and sustainable choices specifically benefited social enterprises. Lead times for airfreight decreased and other markets opened, most notably the international markets. Other distribution channels emerged like home delivery. These experiences correspond with the global trends outlined by Florentine and Hilke of supply chains becoming more customer driven and customer demand changing into more local, more conscious and more based on trust.

Management game creates insights
The day was marked by interactive learning with participants playing a game simulating an assembly line where a (LEGO®) car was being produced. Objective of the game was to gain insight into business processes, learn to take steps to improve delivery performance and to
collaborate and build a team. It all boiled down to experiencing how creating flow can improve business processes. Two teams were created which added a spark of competition to the game. In the first round the teams experienced at first hand the hick ups that can occur in the assembly line, resulting in stock piling of semi-finished goods. In the next rounds improvements were made which resulted in improved delivery performance and less stockpiling. Hilke Tol: “It was great to see the interaction and collaboration within the teams, the focus on optimizing the process whilst also acknowledging each special skill of the team members.”
In the wrap up of the game, it was noted that global developments will affect everybody, so companies should try to improve continuously by coaching and involving all employees. It is therefore essential to know the processes and create flow to be flexible, exchange information and collaborate with customers. This way they can eliminate unnecessary waste and become responsive. As Florentine Steenberghe concluded: “If you don’t see it, you can’t improve it, so make sure you know your process well.”
The day ended with essential tools and recommendations to optimize the supply chain to become as simple and flexible as possible at the lowest risk.

Image | participants, moderators Florentine and Hilke, and team members