2 thoughts on “Global supply chains in a post-COVID world”

  1. Posted 21/09/2020 at 16:21 | Permalink

    Interesting analysis of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic on cross-border supply chains of producer interests, especially those making finely engineered products. But it misses out the role of the most important asset in the enterprise – its employees, and the part played by these people within a business model that uses them correctly, and what can happen when they are not.

    What is it about engineering businesses trading in the consumer goods market that makes them exceptional performers, compared with equivalents in the defence equipment market?

    One of the defining features of a high-performing engineering company is that the composition of its project team changes and grows, as it advances a product development programme from one engineering phase to another – that is to say, from the design phase, to the development phase, to the systems integration phase, to the prototyping phase, to the testing phase and finally, to the manufacturing & in-service support phase. This evolving team expands to accommodate people with the diverse range of skills and capabilities that are required to tackle the vast array of challenges posed by a product comprising a complex technological mix of electronic, electrical, mechanical and software components – which typify MoD equipment procurement programmes in the modern age.

    It begins as an embryonic management team on the hunt for business opportunities, which then morphs into a bid team that produces the response to the invitation to tender, then into a project performance team which advances the starting-point for the technical solution from its existing condition, to a point where it satisfies the qualitative and quantitative requirements expressed in the technical specification requirement and finally, evolves into a project delivery team which sees the project through to a finish, by delivering the fully-engineered product to the user and providing on-going support thereafter, for the entire in-service period.

    However, the situation within defence engineering companies is very different, in that, the make-up of the project team remains largely the same, as it moves from one engineering phase to another – a thin layer of management types whose only notable talent is doing the talking. The harsh reality is that, in the vast majority of cases, there are virtually no people underneath this management layer possessing the requisite hands-on skills, capabilities and experience to perform the on-the-ground delivery work.

    So, in an attempt to get around this shortcoming, the winning contractor of a MoD equipment development programme outsources some (or all) of the work to a subcontractor (which has the effect of introducing yet another layer of management types, adding no value), who in turn ends up doing the same again – because, they too, haven’t got a fully staffed team on their payroll to perform the work. Eventually, the final management layer hires a handful of agency staff on the cheap or disparate individuals operating on a freelance basis – right at the bottom of the pile, with no loyalty, no job security or even relevant job experience for the task in hand.

    The results are entirely predictable. The programme quickly falls behind schedule, with the top-level management team reduced to offering limp excuses by outsourcing its obligation to report progress, problems and achievements to MoD to lower level(s), as per the sub-contract – whilst retaining the highly-coveted role of first point-of-contact, chief negotiator and recipient of milestone payments.

    This is because the management layer, at every level, is almost always made-up of people who were previously in the pay of the State where their focus was, at the exclusion of all else, on how to go about commissioning and overseeing contracts with no consideration whatsoever given to how the hardware configuration of the technical solution will be built and delivered. So, it comes as no surprise that this short-sighted management style has been replicated and embedded in the private sector, by successive waves of former government officials who migrated via the “revolving door” over the last several decades, after having reached the upper echelons of the civil service & armed forces. In so doing, they have completely ignored the undeniable fact that, it remains the job of the private sector to deliver the required equipment to the user, given that it alone possesses the means of production and distribution. It proves one thing – that nothing in their prior experience of working in the public sector has prepared these people for the challenges they will face in the private sector.

    Whereas engineering businesses that manufacture consumer goods routinely build project teams made-up of talented engineers, problem-solvers, innovators and doers from a wide variety of backgrounds (as well as pick them on merit), being “one of us” remains an essential requirement to becoming a member of defence engineering teams.

    It would explain why poorly-performing defence manufacturing businesses have failed so miserably, to deliver equipment to the Armed Forces which is fit for purpose, adequately sustained in-service and constitutes value for money through-life, for as long as anyone can remember.
    @JagPatel3

  2. Posted 22/09/2020 at 19:55 | Permalink

    the rapid global spread of the virus forced major production companies of business and every plate form of societies effected to virus,the only solution of virus is social distancing rules and wear of mask and follow sops where doubt to effected. we have no other except lockdown,we just can’t think about ,who will.that morale was low,so we tell each other,the country as parts its and efforts to spread awareness ,precaution,prevent to spread virus to every one .we hope that by making it clear that we all have a collective responsibility to save lives and outlining our primary oblgations to protect lives of those around us.

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