November 02, 2016

Strategy + Business Magazine named Dr. Yossi Sheffi's book, The Power of Resilience one of the best business strategy books of 2016.

Most corporate managers and business school professors simply accept globalization as an unalloyed good. After all, if your goal is to sell more of something, more potential customers must be better than fewer. But although globalization does hold out the promise of boosting revenues, cutting costs, or both, it also exposes companies to all manner of new risks. Yossi Sheffi’s The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected, which stands head and shoulders above this year’s crop of the best business books on strategy, does an excellent job of covering the most important of those risks as well as best practices in everything from preparation to monitoring to drawing up crisis playbooks. And it does so while focusing on a relatively obscure corporate competence: supply chains.

An entire book on supply chains would seem to be a slog and particularly narrow. But The Power of Resilience is actually a bit of a page turner, with implications that go beyond tactics to strategy. (Stories of disaster always help a narrative along.) A professor of engineering at MIT and director of the school’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, Sheffi knows his material cold, and the book benefits from an obviously fat Rolodex of personal contacts at crucial points in various supply chains.

Sheffi delivers exactly what his subtitle promises — an explanation of “How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected.” And there’s plenty to unexpect: In 2016, managing the supply chain of a global enterprise such as microprocessor maker Intel or automaker GM is about as complicated as the science that goes into the chips or the cars themselves, and possibly more complicated. When catastrophic events such as Japan’s March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear plant near meltdown happen, dozens of crucial suppliers can be put at risk. Both the quality and the timing of the corporate response can determine whether the unexpected ends up costing a company millions or billions of dollars.

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