Management of crisis – Are Supply Chain professionals ready?

Management of crisis – Are Supply Chain professionals ready?

Professionals who are used to work in project’ environments probably have had at some point of their career to be part of a committee to sort any crisis out. But, when it comes to crisis the first point to clarify it the difference between problems and crisis. Problems are part of the daily routine in projects and one skill really admired nowadays is the capacity of a professional to problem or being a “problem solver”. Crisis in projects have a different meaning and approach especially due the fact that the situation in question may represent a “show-stop” and the consequences could be terrible in terms of costs, delays and ultimately damage to the company reputation. Once this difference is clear the question at this point is: are we professionals from projects ready (or even trained) to face a crisis? What about you Supply Chain professional?

One of the first actions when a crisis is established in a project is the setup of a steering committee, a multidisciplinary group which will be responsible the main actions to be put in place in order to manage and find solutions for the crisis. People assigned to this committee are the ones not only experts in their domain but with personal skills as pro-activity, resilience, good communication, team working among others. It’s not necessary to say that a professional from the Supply Chain team will probably be assigned as part of the team which means that we should take care not only about our technical development as well as our behavioral characteristics. Are you putting an effort on it? If don’t it’s time to start it.

A relevant aspects in crisis is the need for speed. This means that mobilization of services and equipment will be required overnight and at the end of the day it will be the supply chain professional the one in charge of putting purchase orders in place, much quicker than usual as well as following all procedures and protocols, and we all know how tough this is especially when the company is big, the system is heavy and the number of procedures and rules to be followed is uncountable. Are you a supply chain professional capable of negotiating terms and price on a high speed ensuring the best acquisition for the company? Working in this kind of environment and keeping the quality of the orders is a real challenge.

A crisis also requires attitudes of making quick decisions (which sometimes are not the best ones), being available at all time (24h hours/7 days a week), extremely committed and prone for sudden changes and adaptation. I would say that the role of the supply chain team is kind of the engine on a car meaning that if not working properly things will move on a undesirable pace.

In conclusion, bear in mind that things will not follow the theory all the time. Therefore, put some effort in learning how to manage situations when things go wrong and I’m sure you will be recognized not only into your organization but in front of suppliers and Clients.  Not to mention you’ll feel proud of you.

Are you ready?


Project Management Professional | + posts



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Patrick Amaral
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