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Supply Chain Finance professorship helps companies deal with disruptions in chains

    Monday 22 March 2021
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With the credit crunch still fresh in our minds, the world suddenly went into lockdown a year ago: a virus caused not only a crisis in healthcare, but a near economic meltdown worldwide: shops closed, many factories in lockdown and major disruptions in the supply chains. The current crisis is not over yet, but one thing is certain: crises come and go. In its project Ready for the Next Crisis, the Supply Chain Finance professorship of Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, together with several partners, is investigating how companies can better prepare for this.

Dr. ir. Ronald de Boer, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Finance: ” The pandemic has taught us that companies need resilience to deal with another crisis like this one: think of demand either coming to a standstill or skyrocketing, restrictions in production and, after a year of corona, still serious disruptions in supply chains. For example, the catering industry has virtually ground to a halt, but bicycles are in short supply due to the lockdowns. However, this peak in the bicycle industry is accompanied by issues in the supply network.

Learning from a crisis

How can you learn from this current disruption - caused by a pandemic - and how can you, as a company, anticipate and respond (more quickly) to it in the future? Supply Chain Resilience is the ability of organizations to deal with such disruptions in their supply network as well as possible. This involves better preparation and a decisive response in the event of such a crisis, in order to limit the negative impact and return to the previous performance level - or even better - as quickly as possible.

Data for crisis-proof companies

With Ready for the Next Crisis, the research group wants to better prepare our economy for a next crisis, together with companies from various sectors, the University of Groningen and consultancy firm Involvation, which has a lot of expertise in this area. Their goal is to develop a measuring instrument with which companies can map out where their potential vulnerabilities lie and whether they are well prepared for serious disruptions in their supply chains and other crisis situations. By collecting data from companies, a dashboard can be developed - as a benchmark platform - that helps organizations to determine how well they are doing compared to similar companies.

No one-size-fits-all project

The researchers do not believe in 'one size fits all', which is why - and this makes this project so unique - the context plays a major role. They look at various sectors: from food to automotive. They also look at the different flows: from goods and money to information. And at the complexity of the entire chain: from 'sand to customer' or 'grain to drink'. The fourteen companies are participating in case studies and workshops in order to actively contribute to the development of measuring instruments. These will then be tested among a larger number of companies. There will also be a special SME version: the Quick Resilience Scan.

Great interest from business community

This project (the start of which has been brought forward due to considerable interest among companies) is financed by TKI Dinalog, which represents the logistics top sector. In addition to Windesheim, the University of Groningen and consultancy firm Involvation are involved. Participating companies are: Avebe, Bidfood, Bosch, Corbion, DSV, Philips, FrieslandCampina, Kruitbosch, Perfetti Van Melle, Rituals, Samsung, Scania, Swinkels Family Brewers and Teijin Aramid.


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