The New “Survival of the Fittest” for Supply Chain Management


After what seems like a never-ending pandemic, some economies have finally emerged from the depths caused by the most impactful economic event in 100 years.

While many are well on the road to recovery, others continue to struggle. Along the way, there have been many corporate casualties, but there have also been some remarkable stories of corporate excellence. So, when it comes to supply chain management, specifically with sourcing and procurement, have we seen the survival of the fittest playing out here?

In short, yes. But we need to redefine what we mean by “fittest.”


What’s Most Important?

A recent statistic showed that S&P 500 companies are holding over two trillion dollars in cash. Looking at that traditional “fittest” metric, we would all agree that maximizing liquidity shows good business judgment in times like this. After all, one must be ready for volatility and uncertainty and prepared to quickly take advantage of strategic opportunities.

But what we’ve seen during the pandemic is the survival of the most agile, innovative, and astute companies, especially those operating a highly collaborative supply chain that adjusted at high speed. This was clearly evident, no matter the nature of the adjustments made, whether it was to address new consumer trends emerging from the pandemic or to react to existing customer needs that accelerated as a result of it.

It was also especially evident in companies that pivoted to new products and services that were not previously in their offer set. In all these cases, we saw that those who moved quickly from pandemic triage to customer-centric innovation not only survived but thrived.


Emphasizing Company Culture

But what else do these companies have in common? What are the other ingredients underlying this fitness? There are several of them, most clearly a company culture in which employees are highly engaged and cross-functionally collaborative. This is true no matter how global the company or what format of engagement is employed to connect peers, customers, and suppliers.

You also see companies with a culture of innovation and a workforce that is quite comfortable dealing with change and ambiguity. Perhaps most importantly, you also see leading-edge digital supply chain management capabilities at play. There is no question that companies that are able to leverage digitization for fast collaboration, innovation, and operational effectiveness are the ones that enabled the most agility.

In short, these are the factors that make up the new definition of “fittest.” It’s not just your balance sheet, financial strength, or market strength; it’s how you adapt to a volatile and fast-moving world and what best in class digital tools you employ to do so.


LevaData’s revolutionary platform offers all the resources and insights needed to fast-track your company’s digital transformation and turn sourcing into a competitive advantage. Find out more about our integrated platform to discover what we can do for your enterprise.