Lessons From the Pandemic: Ten Thoughts From Supply Chain Leaders
April 1, 2021
By Blue Print Editorial Team
By Blue Print Editorial Team
As more of the workforce becomes vaccinated, businesses are looking to move out of the pandemic. We asked ten experts for takeaways they could share with us.
Doug Mensendiek | Area of Expertise: Large Organizations
Don’t ask for an hour if you can get it done in 15 or 30 minutes, especially if it is a virtual or video call.
Kevin Fitzgerald | Area of Expertise: Government
You should look to remove risk from your supply chain. Create a team that develops a plan that handles the risks you know of and try to solve future troubles before they occur.
Brent Roeder | Area of Expertise: Metalworking
You’ve probably heard it before, and you’ll definitely hear it more: The strongest supply chain wins.
Erik McKenna | Area of Expertise: Government
Strategic partnerships allow you to pivot quickly to support areas of need like never before. Best-in-class service starts by listening to your needs and doesn’t end until we find a solution.
Andrew Taylor | Area of Expertise: Manufacturing
During abnormal times such as the pandemic, it is impossible to over-communicate. Continuously update your teams on the constant changes.
Jason Price | Area of Expertise: Manufacturing
Most of my business is tied to the health of a commodity: crude oil. During my 18 years, I've seen crude go through multiple cycles. What made COVID-19’s impact on global crude so unique was the stresses had absolutely nothing to do with flawed market fundaments, but rather self-infliction. We’ve never seen that before, may never see it again. I think the next step is the same for every cycle … be patient, cautiously optimistic, and get ready!
Jeff Hicks | Area of Expertise: Supply Chain Solutions
During times of short supply of products such as PPE, controlling the volume of product and ensuring the full life of a product is critical. A vending program can be very beneficial in capturing the data necessary to learn the behavior of the users of parts as well as add the element of control when necessary to restrict access.
Gene Humes | Area of Expertise: Lean
Recognize when there's a need for additional effort to be put into planning. Then set up extensive communication where you clearly lay out expectations: always add the asterisk that if anything changes, you let stakeholders know on both sides ASAP. For my team, this set the stage for increased confidence from everyone involved and reduced stress. In short, brush up on those planning and communication skills and have a contingency plan!
Clint Coley | Area of Expertise: Safety
At the heart of Fastenal’s culture is a need to serve our customers beyond all obstacles, whether that hurdle is a hurricane, snowstorm, or a global pandemic. Taking no for an answer does not resonate in our company’s DNA. We have empathy, not only for our current partners but our future ones as well, and our culture is one of resilience, creativity, and a passion to help those in need.
Like what you're seeing here? Subscribe to the Blue Print for FREE and get the magazine sent right to your address.
Got feedback? Email us at