S1E1: Professor ‘Ravi’ Ravishankar – Untangling the Supply Chain
Play • 32 min

At this point in the pandemic, most American consumers have faced some supply issues – be it waiting for a part for your car, or not being able to get the perfect present during the holiday season.

This episode’s guest explains why we are plagued with supply chain issues – and how we as a society can fix them.

G. 'Ravi’ Ravishankar is a faculty member at the Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Operations Division at the Leeds School of Business. He is an expert on supply chain issues, lean transformation, product innovation strategies, and technology transfer from national laboratories.

We talked to him about how the pandemic upended our supply chain – and the cracks in the system that were there all along.


On the changing nature of who is an “essential worker”

[00:06:48] If the circumstances change enough, who becomes essential is going to change. If you have a war, soldiers are essential; if you have a famine, food production is essential. So everybody is essential at different points in time, and we need to look at the entire labor pool in that manner.

On where products are made

[00:07:50] We don't make stuff in this country. We mostly import anything that is made. And that is a fundamental problem when all of a sudden, where something comes from is disrupted. It doesn't matter what that item is. If you don't make something, then you need to ensure that the supply from wherever it is coming from is rock solid.

On implementing lessons from recent pandemic problems

[00:26:17] The supply chain problems have got tentacles that go in a thousand different ways. We are just facing the ripple. We've tossed a rock in the pond, and all of a sudden, this ripple is playing out, and it's making us rethink. My fear is that you let things alone for too long, that ripple will die out, and it'll be back to business as usual until something else happens. And I guarantee something else will happen. It’s just a matter of time.


Guest’s Profile:

Profile at Leeds School of Business

Ravi Ravishankar on LinkedIn

More About This Guest:

Shortages and Empty Shelves: How the Supply Chain Became So Fractured

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