As COVID’s initial impact became clear in 2020, Ryan Elliott’s team mobilized quickly to develop a rapid response solution. Teaming with Interos, it worked closely with the government to find companies deep in the government’s supply chain that faced financial hardships because of COVID.
“While many facilities fared better than we originally anticipated on the supply side, those which also took hits on the demand side required more focus,” Elliott said.
The nature of risk also changed over time. In 2020, Elliott and his team found companies that had laid off one-third of their staff. More often than not, few viable substitutes were readily available, causing a flurry of activity around finding alternate sources.
“This year, the story has changed,” Elliott said.
While companies have recovered financially, they struggle with their own supply chain challenges. Sub-tier suppliers are under immense pressure to shift supply to big customers — at times leaving the government empty handed.
Another major shift for 2021 was that companies everywhere and in all industries learned they had a great deal of unknown risk all along. Going beyond just COVID’s impact, they found ESG issues, supply concentration and M&A that put their supply at risk.
“Now, we can’t put that genie back in the bottle,” Elliott said. “So while we’re still managing through COVID, and of course are struggling with supply shortages, we also need to better manage risk going forward. Transitioning from SCRM emergency response to a durable capability is what my team is focused on now.”
Jennifer Bisceglie, founder and CEO Interos, said their partnership with Kearney has been a defining force in advancing its mission to build global supply chain resilience.
“A great example of the synergies achieved is INSITE, a groundbreaking joint solution we created for the U.S. government that allows it to identify critical suppliers who could face immediate financial hardship resulting from the pandemic,” she said. “Since then, we’ve accomplished a great deal, and Ryan has been instrumental in ensuring that this partnership continues to create value for every stakeholder involved.”