Logistics news: Reducing inventory can disrupt supply chain, say some experts

Businesses that scaled back on supply during the recession may find themselves or their suppliers suddenly unable to accommodate increased demand as the economy begins to recover, some experts warn.

By ·

Businesses that scaled back on supply during the recession may find themselves or their suppliers suddenly unable to accommodate increased demand as the economy begins to recover, some experts warn.

“While reducing supply inventory during the recession may have been an economic necessity, many businesses are now faced with the risk of being unable to reestablish the supplies needed to deliver when the economy begins to turn around,” said Michael Kerner, CEO for Zurich Global Corporate in North America. “As one of the largest property and casualty insurers globally, Zurich urges its customers to evaluate their supply chains now so as not to be caught off guard in the weeks and months to come.”

A similar point was raised by Carlos Gutierrez, chairman of Global Political Strategies. Speaking at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional’s (CSCMP) annual meeting in San Diego last week, he stated that U.S. trade protectionism is also keeping shippers from making any bold decisions.

But businesses waiting for an “all-clear” to resume pre-recession production and supply inventories may be missing the boat, said Dr. Robert P. Hartwig, economist and president of the Insurance Information Institute (III).

“There likely won’t be a universal signal indicating that the economy is recovering, so businesses may not know when to adjust their models back to pre-recession levels,” he said. “Businesses often consider the costly consequences of facing a supply chain interruption, but having a supply chain that is not sufficiently prepared for increased demand can also present financial and reputational costs.”

Those costs can add up. A recent study by Vinod Singhal of Georgia Tech and Yossi Sheffi of MIT indicates that companies experiencing a supply chain disruption suffered between a 33 percent and 40 percent decline in stock price, compared with industry peers over a three year period.

“Historically, disruptions can lead to seven percent lower sales and 11 percent higher costs,” cited Linda Conrad, director of strategic business risk, Zurich Global Corporate. “Combined with the increased costs of securing additional supply at the last minute, it’s not surprising that approximately 40 percent of companies with extended interruptions never recover from supply chain disruption.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

CSCMP · Zurich Capital · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
eBook: Why Multi-Tier Supplier Collaboration is More Important Now
Explore the benefits of supplier collaboration including sharing demand forecasts, faster reactions to demand or capacity changes and well-coordinated product launches.
Download Today!
From the September 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
While Amazon’s recent bid to purchase Whole Foods made mainstream headlines, the e-commerce giant will still need to adhere to time-tested realities. Any way you slice it, the integrated U.S. cold chain requires optimized service from existing ports, 3PLs, cold storage warehousing, transportation providers and high-value vendors.
Improving 3PL Management: Glanbia Adds Muscle to Logistics
Why Retail Supply Chain Transformations Fail - and how to get it right
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
EDITORS' PICKS
26th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Transportation at Digital Speed
While a majority of companies strongly agree that transportation is a strategically important...
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...

2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...