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Global supply chain experts give views on volatility and risk

The starting point for the mega session powered by AWESOME at CSCMP EDGE was agreement on the part of the three panelists and moderator, all with high-level roles that involve global trade, that the current environment is “topsy-turvy” — unpredictable and constantly changing. Some factors increasing the need for companies to have a more agile supply chain are trade wars, new tariffs, increasing customs regulations, changing consumer preferences, and the growing need for cyber security.

The panelists were Amy Michtich, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Molson Coors Canada; Kara Mahoney, VP Account Management, Expeditors; and Sylvia Fouhy, VP Customer Experience, Johnson & Johnson. The moderator was Jennifer Diaz, Founder, Diaz Trade Law, P.A., Board Certified in International Law

Many of the issues facing these companies are shared; others were specific to the company and the industry. Molson Coors Canada, for example, is being affected by the market shifting away from beer toward other beverages, as well as the impending legalization of marijuana nationwide in Canada. Johnson & Johnson faces different challenges with needing to get devices and instruments for critical medical procedures all around the world in an expedient manner. Expeditors serves customers in all kinds of situations and is tasked with finding solutions to their changing needs.

The panelists agreed that it has become absolutely essential for supply chain, compliance and customs experts to be involved in decisions at an early stage. They noted that some companies are making decisions in silos and reacting to changing circumstances by rushing their decisions.

When asked how they, as leaders, create a culture that can function successfully and manage risk in this unpredictable environment, their advice included: Operate on the basis of “fail forward,” where people take their learnings and share them across the organization. Follow the customer. Stick to core values. Lean into problems. Fail fast, learn the lessons, and go forward.

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