Let Us Not Go Back To Normal

Many observers are currently talking about how we could go back to normal as quickly as possible. But what is “normality” and is it desirable? Should we really turn to cost reduction and just-in-time processes again? Wasn’t that the reason to put all medical supply eggs in the China basket? Didn’t that make our supply chains extremely vulnerable? We should accept the corona crisis as a warning sign, as an opportunity to fundamentally question the structure of our global supply chains. The corona crisis has fortunately led to effective political measures worldwide. Based on scientific knowledge, political decision-makers seem to be able to anticipate the catastrophic consequences of not taking such measures. These measures certainly hurt, but they are necessary. Unfortunately, effective measures to flatten the curve of the climate and biodiversity crises have so far largely failed to materialize. The corona crisis has shown us that we cannot look at global supply chains in isolation, but can only understand them in a larger context, and we have understood that they require reformation. Hopefully we will be able to transfer this understanding to other crises. Instead of going back to normal, we should anticipate the catastrophic consequences of the old model and reimagine our global supply chains accordingly, thereby having the larger picture in mind. If we can do that, then there is at least something good about the corona crisis, however tragic it is overall. This transformation of our economic system should also guide our academic work in the months to come. Stay healthy!

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About Andreas Wieland

Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

One response to “Let Us Not Go Back To Normal”

  1. Marco Melacini says :

    Thanks Andreas. I fully agree that COVID19 for Supply chain is a big oppurtunity to rethink some choices and it’s only another side of sustainability issue. For academics it is the time to provide/propose new models, without only focusing on minimization of costs (in the short term…). Marco Melacini

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