The New (Ab)Normal: Prof. Sheffi's Book Helps Companies Navigate Covid-19

October 01, 2020 • Press Releases

In his new book The New (Ab)Normal: Reshaping Business and Supply Chain Strategy Beyond Covid-19, published today, MIT CTL Director Prof. Yossi Sheffi maps how companies grappled with the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic and how they can survive and thrive as the crisis subsides. Sheffi pays particular attention to supply chain's role in helping companies manage and recover from the pandemic.

A Financial Crisis Is Looming for Smaller Suppliers

August 06, 2020 • Articles

MIT CTL Deputy Director Jim Rice wrote an article in Harvard Business Review along with Federico Caniato and Antonella Moretto of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano.

Moving Out of China? Not Really

July 07, 2020 • MIT CTL Thought Leadership

Yossi Sheffi on China's position in the global trade ecosystem in the aftermath of the pandemic:

Fresh Approaches to Omnichannel in the Grocery Business

July 01, 2020 • Articles

The innovative omni-channel supply chain models that have reshaped many parts of the retail industry continue to evolve in response to market changes. One of these changes is the increasing demand for grocery products ordered online, a trend reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic that imposed restrictions on the use of physical stores for grocery shopping.

How the COVID-19 Supply Chain Succeeds When It Fails

July 01, 2020 • MIT CTL Thought Leadership

When you think about it, the spread of COVID-19 operates a lot like a supply chain. Ken Cottrill discusses looking at the outbreak in these terms:

To stop the spread of the virus, we must ensure that its supply chain fails. We can secure failure by using disruptors to prevent deliveries of the supply chain’s deadly freight. But not disruptors such as adverse weather that derail product supply chains. These are special disruptors that include masks, quarantines, and social distancing.

Trust Is Hard to Develop Online

June 23, 2020 • MIT CTL Thought Leadership

MIT CTL Director Prof. Yossi Sheffi reflects on one major difficulty of virtual communication in this moment:

COVID-19’s lockdowns have required people to replace much of the in-person communication they conducted at work — as well as with customers and suppliers — with virtual meetings on platforms such as Zoom, Teams, and Hangout. When the coronavirus crisis subsides, will people return to physical meeting places or cling to the virtual equivalents they have become familiar with?

Localization Is Seeding Innovative Produce Supply Chains

June 11, 2020 • MIT CTL Thought Leadership

Chris Mejía Argueta, Alexis Bateman, and Ken Cottrill detail a new trend in food supply chains:

The COVID-19 crisis is shining a light on the vulnerabilities of food supply chains as well as opportunities to develop inventive ways to deliver fresh foods like fruit and vegetables from farm to table.

Even When Plans Are Useless, Planning Is Indispensable

May 29, 2020 • Quoted In

Yossi Sheffi speaks with CIO Journal and Wall Street Journal.

“Given these constraints,” wrote MIT professor Yossi Sheffi, “the words of General Dwight Eisenhower ring true: Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” 

Get Over It! - Why There Is No Going Back To Normal After COVID-19

May 29, 2020 • Articles

Joseph Coughlin writes: Everyone wants an answer to one question — and they want it now. When do we get back to normal? It has been three months. Politicians and pundits argue. Experts debate. Still no answer. Everyone wants an answer to one question — and they want it now. When do we get back to normal? It has been three months. Politicians and pundits argue. Experts debate. Still no answer. Get over it. There is no getting back to normal. There is only a new normal — one that has been coming long before COVID-19.

Who Gets What When Supply Chains Are Disrupted?

May 27, 2020 • Articles

Yossi Sheffi writes: When companies cannot meet the full demands of their customers, leaders need to set clear decision criteria and the mechanisms to back them up. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended normal life and many supply chains. Between hoarding (such as toilet paper), unexpected demand surges (such as yeast, for baking), and spot supply shortages (because of factories or warehouses closed due to infection or mandate), some products are in short supply.

Coronavirus: Why are basic necessities getting more expensive?

May 13, 2020 • Quoted In

Christopher Mejía Argueta speaks with Univison about the current state of the food and grocery supply chains. Watch below (in Spanish):

How COVID-19 Complicates Farm to Table

May 13, 2020 • Quoted In

When the coronavirus began to spread, it was common for grocery stores to limit toilet paper to one package per customer. Now some stores are placing caps on packages of beef, pork, and chicken. Yossi Sheffi, director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, talks to host Krys Boyd [of NPR's Think podcast] about how COVID-19 is impacting the U.S. food supply chain and what that means for your family’s shopping list.

S&OP: A new frontier for supply chain resilience?

May 13, 2020 • Quoted In

Kai Trepte, Jim Rice, and Walid Klibi discuss how sales and operations planning can be adapted to be more resilient in the face of disruption:

Most sales and operations planning (S&OP) processes do a good job of increasing supply chain efficiencies and reducing costs. But they often don't handle major disruptions well. Here's how to make the process more resilient.

They Will Be the Unsung Heroes of COVID-19

May 13, 2020 • Quoted In

Joseph F. Coughlin writes: COVID-19 is shaping Gen Z's attitudes toward all institutions, government, employers, experts & brands. The contagion is also forging Gen Z's view of traditions, having children, retirement even globalization. COVID-19's impact isn't in a year or two, it will be in decades, and Gen Z is its vector. My daughter stares into the screen. This is not just another TikTok moment. She is in her high school English class; this is education, COVID-19 style. Screens have taken over the classroom and in no sense has their invasion stopped there.

Domestic Labor Issues Pose Hidden Supply Chain Risks

May 07, 2020 • MIT CTL Thought Leadership

Alexis Bateman and Ken Cottrill write,

Companies have long known that visibility into the workplace practices of far-flung offshore suppliers is an essential component of supply chain risk management. Many enterprises lack that visibility, even though it is becoming increasingly important across global supply chains. The COVID-19 crisis is now making it clear that workplace conditions closer to home may need to come under similar scrutiny.

Don't Panic. We're Not Running Out of Food

May 04, 2020 • Quoted In

Christopher Mejía Argueta and Alexis Bateman are quoted in Vice. “The empty shelves will continue for a while. said Christopher Mejía Argueta, a research scientist at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. But if I have someone in front of me who is going to start panicking about the empty shelves, what I would tell that person is, 'you don't need to worry.

Yes, There Is Less Meat In Grocery Stores Because Of The Coronavirus. Yes, You're Going To Pay More

May 01, 2020 • Quoted In

Yossi Sheffi, director of [the Center for Transportation & Logistics] at MIT, believes the U.S. food supply system has performed “miraculously” during the pandemic.

"You may not be able to get the cut you like … so you’ll get a different cut," says Sheffi. "Let me be clear, there are spot shortages here and there. What the supply chains (are) experiencing are unprecedented changes in demand."

How will coronavirus change the way we shop? Here are 10 predictions about the future of retail

April 26, 2020 • Quoted In

Alexis Bateman, director of the MIT Sustainable Supply Chains program, said

"Empty shelves in supermarkets have pushed consumers to look locally for their food — as evidenced by a surge in community-supported agriculture. It’s a clear opportunity for consumers ‘to double down on farmers' markets and locally produced food." 

COVID-19 Now We All Know What It’s Like To Be Old & Alone

April 23, 2020 • Articles

Dr. Joseph Coughlin writes: In the span of a few short days, millions of Americans of all ages have gone from our often-harried daily routines to living and working at home. Many of us are experiencing this change not as a liberating day off or a snow day, but as an anxiety-producing semi- or full-isolation.

Coronavirus Reveals Vulnerable Supply Chains

April 22, 2020 • Articles

MIT Professor Yossi Sheffi speaks with Bloomberg's Scarlet Fu and Romaine Bostick on the collapse of the food supply chain and the crash in oil. 

Reinforcing Supply Networks

April 22, 2020 • Quoted In

Jim Rice writes in Inside Story: The question at hand for most organizations now is how to restart, to reconstitute your operations back towards what will surely be a new normal.  If your company is working as part of a critical network to satisfy heightened demand for PPE, food, medical, sanitizing suppliers – your challenge is different than those firms operating at significantly reduced capacity.

The growing push to re-open the U.S. economy

April 15, 2020 • Quoted In

CGTN's Roee Ruttenberg spoke with Yossi Sheffi, professor at MIT and director of the Center for Transportation & Logistics, about reopening the U.S. economy.

How the coronavirus outbreak could hurt global business

April 14, 2020 • Quoted In

Yossi Sheffi joins CNBC's “Squawk Alley” to discuss how the coronavirus outbreak could hurt global business.

Commentary: Solving the Health-Care Equipment Supply Shortage

April 10, 2020 • Articles

Yossi Sheffi writes: Just-in-time principles have hampered hospitals responding to the coronavirus pandemic, and it will take government action to fix the problem over the long term. As we struggle to come to terms with the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the most frustrating sights is witnessing front-line health-care workers begging for more masks, protective gowns, testing kits, ventilators, and intensive-care beds. The woeful performance of these health-care supply chains raises the question of how such glaring shortages happened.

Coronavirus will change how stuff gets to you

April 10, 2020 • Quoted In

Yossi Sheffi spoke with Yahoo! Finance about how the just-in-time model and supplier diversification in light of the coronavirus: “For many companies, changing the entire model just doesn’t make sense. As Yossi Sheffi, director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, told Yahoo Finance, there are just too many advantages of “just-in-time” that go beyond cost. There are more speed and agility, but also more quality. When an auto production line experiences a problem with a part, for example, you have a pile of parts and swap a new one in.