Friday, September 13, 2013

Fabulous Workshop on Supply Chain Vulnerability and Resilience in Switzerland

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers of the Workshop on Vulnerability and Resilience of Supply Chains, which concluded today in gorgeous Zurich, Switzerland. The venue was the Zurich Insurance Company building and the invited speakers were put up at the Zurich Development Center. My room has a balcony with a view of the lake and mountains. The breakfasts are spectacular (the location is where bircher muesli was invented) and, of course, so are the chocolate and the cuisine.

This two day workshop with representatives from academia, companies, and government, has been filled not only with great talks, but with lively discussions on supply chain management, supply chain risk management, systemic risk, various methodologies, applications, and, of course, insurance. I have been so impressed by the freedom of discussion and the intellectual exchanges. The research ideas are flowing.

I took copious notes and have enjoyed meeting folks from pharmaceutical companies, Zurich Insurance Group, consultants, representatives from rail companies, academics from the US, Germany, and Switzerland, and even the head of security of the Frankfurt Airport. There were representatives from 5 continents.

I have collected numerous business cards and just the job descriptions and titles will fascinate my students. 

In this day and age, companies must pay attention to their supply chains and to supply chain risk.

And, for those of you who know him, Yossi Sheffi of MIT, the author of The Resilient Enterprise, spoke yesterday. On Wednesday evening, I was the only female at the dinner, so a Swiss gentleman assumed that I was the spouse, and Yossi's wife, in particular -- we had a good laugh about this. I was the only invited female speaker but I did my best. The social events were fabulous -- there was even a dinner cruise on Lake Zurich. So great to see companies understanding the value of network representations of supply chains, a theme I have explored in three of my most recent books. Discussions on vulnerability, resilience, and robustness and appropriate definitions were also very illuminating. There were very smart and very interesting people here and it was GREAT. 

Here's my presentation, Networks Against Time: From Food to Pharma