Building Supply Chain Resilience

Maureen Metcalf, founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, provided this article as a companion to her podcast with Mike McLellan, Vice President of Operations for DHL Supply Chain, Supply Chain Innovation: Orders Can’t Be Filled with Stagnation.

As global supply chains grapple with lingering issues after the pandemic’s massive disruptions, many companies struggle to find a balance between cost-cutting and customer satisfaction. Mike McLellan, VP of Operations for DHL Supply Chain, sheds some light on how companies can take a proactive approach to supply chain management to create the resiliency they will need to handle the inevitable future disruptions.


  1. Multi-sourcing to create redundancy

Having just one source for a resource proved deadly for many organizations during COVID. Multi-sourcing means finding alternate sourcing options for materials and services, as well as creating redundant operations or backup systems. This ensures disruptions in the supply chain can be managed quickly and adverse impacts minimized.


  1. Investing in technology to increase customer service

Technology provides more visibility and flexibility into the supply chain, giving customers the ability to track their shipments and know exactly where their items are at any given time. Additionally, companies can use technology to communicate updates to customers about their shipments – often in real time — such as when it is shipped, when it enters the country, and when it arrives at their doorstep, thus enhancing the customer experience and trust in the supply chain. It also helps you and your customers see problems immediately and find solutions fast!


  1. Reshoring manufacturing to build supply chain resilience.

Bringing production and manufacturing of goods back to a company’s home country provides companies with even more control over their flow of supplies and creates a more resilient and reliable supply chain. It may also provide a level of customization unavailable from a distant supplier. Other advantages include shorter lead times, better control over quality and production, access to local talent, and avoiding trade and tariff issues. Disadvantages may include higher labor costs, limited access to resources, and higher overhead costs. You’ll need to weigh which of these factors impacts your company’s bottom line (and future!) most.


From increases in severe weather to new viruses waiting in the wild, there’s no question that more disruptions lie ahead. But your organization doesn’t have to be a victim of them. These simple steps lead to the resiliency and redundancy you need to make your business long-lived and future ready.



Mike McLellan is a Vice President of Operations for DHL Supply Chain.  In a career spanning 30 years, Mike has worked with a number of large retail and ecommerce companies focusing on big box warehousing and their supporting supply chains.  Mike holds a BS in Workforce Leadership from University of Louisville and resides in Atlanta, GA.



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Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future via Apple PodcastsTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One.

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