Among the best ways to teach supply chain management is by discussing different types of real-world supply chains. In their interesting report, Enabling Trade: From Valuation to Action, the World Economic Forum (in collaboration with Bain & Company) present several supply chains that could be discussed. The introdution makes one point clear: “The overall benefits to nations, producers and consumers are clear. However, making it happen is not as simple – particularly because supply chains cut across multiple stakeholders, requiring collaboration and leadership that goes beyond local constituents and borders.” This is where the report delves deeper into examples of practical application. Among the examples presented in the report is the avocado supply chain. This example demonstrated how “a number of supply chain improvements have enabled Kenyan avocados to be profitably exported to high-value markets in the European Union”. It illustrates that supply chains “must be able to react to changes in market dynamics in order to maintain a virtuous cycle”.
As part of the Kühne Foundation’s certificate program on humanitarian logistics, I have, again, been teaching logistics and supply chain management modules in East Africa during the last couple of weeks. This year, the program was held at the University of Dar es Salaam and the National Institute of Transport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as well as at Makerere University Business School in Kampala, Uganda. A new report, recently published by the World Food Programme (WFP), gives a good real-life overview of humanitarian logistics. Particularly, it demonstrates how WFP (1) deliver goods, how they (2) assist the humanitarian community, (3) innovate supply chain management, (4) develop capacity, and (5) partner with other organizations. WFP’s logistics strategy, “Driving the Supply Chain”, includes four priority areas: Emergency Preparedness and Response, Controls and Risk Reduction, External Service Provision, and Food Assistance Initiatives. It becomes apparent that humanitarian and commercial supply chains are highly interlinked and can learn from each other.