Last year’s Land Warfare Conference was dominated by the invasion of Ukraine. At one point the chief of the General Staff of the British Army, General Patrick Saunders, made a point that resonated with the supply chain practitioners in the room: “To put it bluntly, you can’t cyber your way across a river. No single platform, capability, or tactic will [win the battle]. Success will be determined by combined arms and multi-domain competence.”
One of those competences is effective supply chain management, says Joann Robertson CMgr FCMI, head of logistics support for the Royal Navy in the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In her role, she is responsible for the provision of fuel, munitions, clothing and general stores, as well as the performance of joint supply chain and information systems. At the MoD, she says, the supply chain is gaining more prominence in strategic discussions.
“Ukraine has caused us to reassess. The current conflict reasserts the importance of the supply chain, lines of supply, stock holdings and logistics – topics frequently ignored in favour of equipment and platforms. It’s always been seen as a back-of-house function, but the current climate has shown that it probably needs more time at the strategic table than it used to get.
“Logistics and support have traditionally been characterised as an enabling component of warfighting, they have not been scrutinised in their own right. They’ve been assumed to be adequate and available,” says Joann.
So with one recent report suggesting that supply chain managers are in greater demand than ever, we asked Joann for her advice about “wargaming” supply chains to make sure that yours are resilient to today’s unique set of challenges.
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