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Supply Chain Plasticity: The Ability to Reorganize Supply Pathways in the Face of Disruption
Supply chain plasticity is a novel concept borrowed from neuroscience whereby the brain reorganizes its neural pathways to restore function following injury. This concept is applicable to supply chains, whereby production can be safeguarded amid catastrophic events by realigning across unaffected pathways in the supply net- work. I offer two case studies of plasticity from my own experience: a beverages company faced with a heat wave and a CPG company faced with a hurricane damaging its production plant. In both scenarios I reveal the options available to switch operations to different pathways in the supply network to mitigate disruption and provide continuity. I also highlight the importance of not perceiving plasticity as reversion to the pre-crisis state; rather a permanent adaptation to the new reality.