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Highlights | KEDGE 2021 Global Supply Chain Forum

On Tuesday, June 22nd 2021, the Global Supply Chain Forum, co-organised by KEDGE Business School, its alumni clubs, and SCOM (Supply Chain & Operations Manager Association), was successfully held in Shanghai

The Forum, with a focus on transformation trends taking place in global supply chains, invited practitioners from big actors and senior scholars in the field of supply chain to share ideas and discuss the shaping of diversified, resilient and intelligent supply chains.

A large number of business leaders specialised in supply chains, procurement and logistics attended the Forum, as well as people from various backgrounds with interest in the topic. This 1st edition of the Forum provided a platform to share about different data & perspectives, and learn from each other’s best practices.


Ms. Christine YE, alumna of KEDGE Business School (SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA 2015) and co-founder of Jupiter Maker, moderated the event.

Ms. Sabrina WOO, KEDGE Business School Deputy General Manager for China, began by expressing her gratitude to guests and other attendees.

Supply chain management is one of the key research fields of KEDGE Business School. The school’s research in the field is recognized globally and ranked in top journals. The Forum was the opportunity for KEDGE, along with supply chain experts, to share the latest research results with the academic circle, businesses and the general public, with the purpose to jointly promote innovation and transformation in global supply chains, and tackle fresh challenges in the post-pandemic era.

Mr. Wei LI, Deputy Director of the Institute of Economics of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, delivered the first keynote of the Forum.


In his presentation, Mr. Wei LI focused on the evolution of global industrial chains and highlighted the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the landscape of industrial chains against the backdrop of anti-globalization. By studying the economic growth and recovery data in different countries since the outbreak, he saw readjustment of industrial chains being slowed down by the pandemic. Taking advantage of the time gained owing to the slow-down, China sets its strategic direction to actively respond to the readjustment. The major breakthrough point for China is to get a head start in the new round of transformation of the global labour division driven by industrial technological revolution featuring digitalization, connectivity and smartization.


Ms. Ariel ZHANG, alumna of KEDGE Business School (SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA 2017) and the Solution Director of Huaxia Dun & Bradstreet, reviewed different development stages of supply chains and pointed out the prospect of supply chain upgrading in her presentation.


Ms. Ariel ZHANG pointed out that since the 21st century, with the upgrading of distribution and consumption, people tend to build more client-centered and responsive supply chains and to manage the traditional procurement and logistics from an overall perspective. New procurement and intelligent logistics technologies have accelerated the integration of procurement, logistics and digital supply chains. In the new economic situation and post-epidemic era, the global supply chain extends to both ends of the value chain. One to the supplier end, seeking supplier diversity and increasing local procurement to increase supply chain resilience, the other to the operational and sales end, especially in the segmented consumer market in which supply chain resources are allocated based on different demand scenarios to improve the customer experience.

Ms. Rachel ZHOU, Project Manager of Siemens China, Advanta, has years of supply chain management experience at Siemens. She shared her thoughts on intelligent supply chains in a practice-oriented manner.


In Ms. Rachel ZHOU’s view, as the world becomes highly globalized and IT-driven, companies are faced with fresh challenges in coordinating production, supply and distribution as well as in sales and operation. The application of digital supply chains will help companies to effectively improve end-to-end visibility. Companies must put business at the center and use technologies as the tool. Digital supply chains should be designed around the concept of excellent business (supply chain planning, sales and clients, procurement and supplier). Companies will see full integration of business reforms under the framework of whole digital supply chain management. Guided by the concept of supply chain excellent business, digital systems will be established to realize connectivity of processes and data.  Furthermore, process mining based on supply chain and smart data will guide the continuous improvement of supply chain business and create a sound closed loop.

On the hot topic of chip shortage in the automotive industry in 2021, Mr. Sai CHEN, DMG Leader of Connected Car Networking BU at Continental Automotive, provided his insights into supply chains of the automotive industry.


According to Mr. Sai CHEN, we should take a reasonable view of chip shortage for cars in 2020. In addition to the pandemic and relevant competition issues, the sharp increase in global chip demand and the relocation of production capacity are also causes that cannot be ignored. As electrified and smart cars become the trend, the share of new energy vehicles grows progressively and more players from other industries are joining the car-making industry, therefore, cars are more reliant on chips nowadays. At the same time, the popularity of smart wearables that share chips production lines with automobile has also led to the relocation of production capacity. Additionally, pessimistic predictions made by OEMs on market demand based on macroeconomic data during the outbreak of the pandemic have also exacerbated the shortage of chips during the recovery period. Looking forward, he believes that OEMs will be mindful of how to meet clients’ actual demand when formulating future strategies, and incorporate essential industrial upgrading trends such as "separation of software and hardware" into their supply chain plans.


Mr. James SAVAGAR, Retail & Lifestyle Sales Director of A.P. Moller - Maersk Greater China, joined the Forum remotely to present his ideas on ways to build resilient supply chains and relevant solutions.


Mr. James SAVAGAR said that the retail industry is currently experiencing drastic fluctuations due to changes in consumer demand. Emergencies such as the Covid-19 have added another layer of complexity and uncertainty to the challenges in the retail supply chain. Simply improving the supply chain efficiency is no longer a solution. Retail supply chain must change practices to strike a better balance between efficiency and resilience in dealing with the "new normal". New practices include, for example, developing closer strategic relationships with suppliers and other partners, and using technological and digital management methods to integrate global supply chains. The former will help companies find quick solutions when encountering difficulties in the supply chains, and the latter will improve supply chain visibility and tracking, and diversify procurement locations to be prepared for emergencies, so as to avoid significant impacts caused by emergencies.

Mr. George JI, alumnus of KEDGE Business School (SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA 2011) and Director of procurement of Accor China, used Accor Group as an example and shared specific measures taken by the hotel industry to prepare for the post-pandemic “rebound”.


Nearly a year and a half into the crisis, Mr. George JI believes that the long-awaited rebound in the hotel industry is just around the corner. Facing this opportunity, the Accor Group makes its strategy to focus on corporate social responsibility, procurement digitalization and luxury brand building strategy. It will promote innovations to transform itself into the largest integrated hotel ecosystem. Specific measures include the continued implementation of environmental protection programmes such as single-use plastics solutions, digitalization of procurement platform to reduce costs and improve efficiency, mitigation of supply chain risks by increasing the number and execution rate of preferred suppliers, as well as consolidation and building of the most diverse brand lineup while accelerating growth.

Prof. Pierre CARIOU from KEDGE Business School gave a keynote speech on “The impact of Covid-19 on maritime supply chains” and kick-started the first panel discussion. He used data and charts to show the participants changes in shipping volume, duration, and freight rates in various regions around the world before and after the pandemic, and provided recommendations on how to mitigate impacts of the pandemic on the global shipping industry from short-term operation and long-term financial perspectives.

The first panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Vivian CHEN, alumna of KEDGE Business School (SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA 2012) and Business Development Leader of Corteva Agriscience (China). The following panelist were invited to speak:

  • Pierre CARIOU, KEDGE Business School
  • James SAVAGAR, Retail & Lifestyle Sales Director, A.P. Moller - Maersk (Greater China)
  • Franz ZHOU, Chief Editor, Automotive Production
  • Philippe PROVOST, alumnus of KEDGE Business School (KEDGE MAI 1995), Raw Materials Category Director, L'Oreal
  • Jiabin ZHU, alumnus of KEDGE Business School (SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA 2018) and CSO and Transportation Management Manager of BASF


The panelists presented business cases with details of impacts caused by the pandemic and their response measures in their own industries (automotive, transportation and FMCG). They also made predictions about the developments in the next 2-3 years in their respective industry, and shared their plans (including the use of digital technologies and localization strategies) to optimize supply chains, providing food for thought for the participants.

The second panel discussion was started by a keynote speech from Prof. Walid KLIBI of KEDGE Business School. In his presentation, he focused on the design of resilient supply chains and provided analysis of the root causes of supply chain vulnerabilities, the level of impact that various emergencies may cause and the time required for recovery. Then Prof. Walid KLIBI presented a resilient supply chain solution that put “risk mitigation" and "response capacity building" at the center and aimed at developing long-term and reliable supply chain networks.

The second panel discussion was moderated by Ms.Charlène QIAN, a News Center Senior Journalist from the Technology Section of Yicai. The following panelist were invited to speak:

  • Walid KLIBI, Professor, KEDGE Business School
  • Linda XIA, COO/Vice President, Shanghai Shunrufenglai Technology Co., Ltd
  • Jingle CHEN, General Manager, Surplus Global
  • Michael GUO, General Manager of Spectrum Brands Xiamen Industrial Co., Ltd. and Translator of the Chinese version of the book “The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected”
  • Philip ZHANG, alumnus of KEDGE Business School (SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA 2003) and Senior Consultant of Goldratt Consulting


The panelists spoke of the impact on their companies caused by the pandemic as well as the recovery progress, and redefined "resilient supply chain" and "risk management" based on their experience during the pandemic. They shared specific plans in creating resilient supply chains (concerning internal management, upstream suppliers, downstream sales and operations, etc.), providing the audience with new ideas for the transformation and upgrading of corporate supply chains. Following the brainstorming, the second panel discussion reached the consensus that supply chain management should shift its thinking mode: from an efficient and cost-oriented supply chain to a resilient and safe one. It is the inevitable trend of supply chain management.


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