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We Were Already Broken — How Supply Chains Were Primed For Failure Before COVID
COVID, with its massive disruptions to both demand and supply, revealed critical shortcomings in supply chains. What is often overlooked is that while we couldn’t necessarily have predicted the pandemic, we had engineered our supply chains in such a way that COVID’s impact was far more severe that it needed to be. Overly lean inventory policies, over-optimized supply chains, SKU proliferation, inflexible production, and BOM complexity meant that we had no slack in our supply chain and operations to handle major demand or supply disruptions. In this article I describe how we as a discipline were already primed for failure and that COVID merely lit the fuse. I intend for this article to document the failings of our discipline in reaction to this event so that we may better prepare for the next, inevitable disruption.