Building a Resilient Supply Chain

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This is true of supply chains as well.

A resilient supply chain will be able to cope with any disruptions and have contingencies in place to minimize the effect.

Resilient supply chains are essential. They allow all businesses involved in the supply chain to optimize their processes and adapt to potential issues.

This article will fully explore the definition of supply chain resilience and frameworks.

We will also explore the factors that can affect supply chain resilience. Lastly, we will cover other essential supply chain information you will need.

What is Supply Chain Resilience?

A resilient supply chain should be efficient and able to mitigate disruptions.

Resilient supply chains should have the capacity to anticipate potential disruptions. They must have contingencies in place that can respond quickly to issues.

Failure to identify or properly manage supply disruptions can cause a knock-on effect which is damaging to every link on the supply chain.

Supply Chain Resilience Frameworks

Frameworks are in place to improve supply chain resilience. Some examples of framework models include:

The SCOR model

The SCOR model is the Supply Chain Operations Reference. It is concerned with the essential processes of providing customer satisfaction. The processes involved include:

  • Plan
  • Source
  • Make
  • Delivery
  • Return
  • Enable

The ISO 28002-1 standard

The ISO 28002-1 standard is a set of guidelines established to manage supply chain security risks.

This framework helps businesses identify and mitigate potential security issues. These can come from supply chain partners or suppliers.

The Gartner resilience framework

The Gartner resilience framework is a model that prepares organizations for potential disruptions. This includes unexpected events such as cyber-attacks or natural disasters.

The framework has four key pillars:

  • Respond
  • Recover
  • Renew
  • Adapt

Factors Affecting Supply Chain Resilience

Many factors can affect supply chain resilience. Having a framework in place to prepare for these can mitigate the effects they have.

Factors that can affect supply chain resilience include:

  • The complexity of the supply chain
  • Geographic locations of suppliers
  • The geographic location of distribution centers
  • Supplier management
  • Supplier relationships
  • Inventory management
  • Information technology
  • Transportation systems
  • Government regulations
  • Political instability
  • Natural disasters

As well as these factors, the transparency of the supply chain is crucial to mitigating potential disruptions.

Cost will also be a factor. For example, retaining multiple supply locations will have a bearing on budgets. However, it will ensure that issues affecting one supply location won’t halt operations.

Supply Chain Resilience Strategies

Implementing a range of supply chain resilience strategies can help mitigate potential disruptions. This will ensure an efficient service.

This can include the diversification of manufacturing networks, which can minimize the risk of localized issues having a major effect on the overall supply chain. Multisourcing is another key factor that can be beneficial.

Successful strategies include risk management investigations into suppliers. Scenario planning will also minimize the risk of supply chain breakdowns.

Scenario and business continuity planning should go hand in hand to determine the possible solutions to issues.

Best Practices for Resilient Supply Chains

Following best practice protocols is essential for any organization to run efficiently. Supply chains have a reliance on multiple links. Because of this, ensuring best practice is followed throughout is essential.

The following examples should be a priority for any supply chain leaders:

  • Establish strong relationships with suppliers
  • Improve the transparency and visibility of the supply chain
  • Ensure IT, data analytics and essential technology are up to date
  • Instill a risk management and resilience culture
  • Regularly review and improve continuity plans
  • Ensure inventory levels are adequate

Tools and Technologies for Resilient Supply Chains

Making use of state-of-the-art technology will improve supply chain resiliency. However, it is essential that backup systems are in place. Complete reliance on tools and tech can cause supply chain disruptions if there are technological or energy issues.

Tools and technology that can facilitate supply chain resiliency include:

  • Supply chain visibility software
  • Predictive analytics
  • Digital collaboration platforms
  • Blockchain technology
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology
  • Internet of Things (IoT) devices
  • Cloud computing
  • Robotic process automation (RPA)

Metrics for Measuring Supply Chain Resilience

Supply chain data is essential for identifying patterns and potential issues. Supply chain technologies can help measure certain supply chain metrics. This data can provide a competitive advantage over other organizations.

Some of the most important metrics for measuring supply chain resilience include:

KPIs (key performance indicators)

KPIs are a great way to set performance expectations and targets. They can identify areas that exceed expectations or need work.

Supply chain disruption metrics

Measuring performance during disruptions will identify the areas that are affected worse. This can help with the creation of contingency plans.

Supplier performance and risk metrics

Understanding the performance of suppliers will also improve efficiency. Global supply chains can rely on a number of factors that need to be monitored.

Supply chain visibility and transparency metrics

Visibility metrics provide an in-depth report on the full supply chain’s operations.

Transparency metrics will help to provide a better understanding of the organization’s performance.

Building a Culture of Supply Chain Resilience

A culture of supply chain resilience can be built in organizations and associates over time.

Good communication is essential and training can also be beneficial. Rewarding those that adopt and display this culture will also help.

Cultural shifts can often be jarring, and leading by example from management levels will help the transition.

Risk management and resilience training will improve employee skills. Training should be seen as continual rather than one-off sessions.

Communicating and sharing best practices will also benefit and encourage workers.

The Importance of Collaboration in Resilient Supply Chains

A supply chain network is a collaboration. Multiple organizations work together and can start from the gathering of raw materials. The process can result in finished products being shipped to stores.

Communication is key to collaboration. Good communication will help to create a more resilient supply chain that can overcome disruptions.

Challenges in Building Resilient Supply Chains

Many supply chains struggle to reach an optimal level of resiliency. This is because there are so many factors that can affect it.

Supply chain managers will be tasked with managing their own operations. But poor visibility can lead to disruptions causing backlogs.

Resilience often works against the efficiency of operations. This is because risk and contingency plans need to be considered.

A good supply chain strategy will balance resilience and efficiency. This will mitigate risk and ensure supply chain networks don’t grind to a halt during disruptions.

Future Trends in Resilient Supply Chains

Embracing new technology is key to operating an agile supply chain. Identifying potential disruptions is also a key aspect.

Social responsibility and environmental factors affect logistics in different countries. Geopolitical risks must also be considered.

Embracing new technology to streamline processes will eventually lead to smoother operations. However, switching over to digital processes and the application of AI and predictive analytics will take time to master.


Supply chain management must embrace resilience to ensure optimal performance. There are multiple factors that must be considered when building resilient supply chains.

However, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. This is because greater resilience will significantly mitigate supply chain risks.

One of the most important factors of resilient supply chain operations will be communication.

Using tried and tested frameworks will help to put effective strategies in place. Taking the time to explore the options available to you will ensure you select the right framework for your organization.


What is supply chain resilience?

Supply chain resistance is the ability to maintain a reliable supply chain performance. This includes identifying and managing potential disruptions.

What are the key factors affecting supply chain resilience?

The key factors that can affect the resilience of supply chains include:

  • Risk
  • Disruption
  • Supply chain complexity
  • Inventory management
  • Geographic locations
  • Political instability
  • Natural disasters
  • Supplier relationships

What are the best strategies for building resilient supply chains?

The best strategies for building resilient supply chains include:

  • Diversify suppliers
  • Increase supply chain visibility
  • Develop contingency plans
  • Strengthen supplier relationships
  • Improve inventory management
  • Embrace new technology
  • Engage in continuous improvement and training

What are the tools and technologies for resilient supply chains?

Tools and technologies for resilient supply chains include:

  • Supply chain visibility software
  • Predictive analytics
  • Digital collaboration platforms
  • Blockchain technology
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology
  • Internet of Things (IoT) devices
  • Cloud computing
  • Robotic process automation (RPA)

What are the metrics for measuring supply chain resilience?

The metrics for measuring supply chain resilience include:

  • KPIs (key performance indicators)
  • Supply chain disruption metrics
  • Supplier performance and risk metrics
  • Supply chain visibility and transparency metrics

How can you build a culture of supply chain resilience in your organization?

You can build a culture of supply chain resilience in your organization by:

  • Leading from the top
  • Action the data you analyze
  • Improve the ability of employees to implement decisions
  • Improve supplier relationships