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A Bit Too Much Spice in McCormick’s Supply Chain

If variety is the spice of life, than McCormick's supply chain must be living large. This article by Robert Bowman lists three situations where McCormick needed to respond quickly and intelligently to deal with situations far beyond their control- including revolution, flood, and just a pinch of tech/human error. Take for example the first challenge they faced in 2011: the Egyptian revolution. McCormick needed to act, and fast: One thing McCormick knew for sure: it wasn't a question of business as usual. Suppliers were facing government-mandated curfews, along with restrictions on when they could run their plants. They could apply for operating permits, but the process was lengthy and uncertain. Meanwhile, employees were afraid to come to work, Egyptian ports were paralyzed by dockworker strikes, and the government was shunting aside export shipments in favor of incoming materials. Many ships were departing empty. McCormick didn't have much time to react. Its first steps, says Layfield, were to form a cross-functional response team, set up a communication plan for linking suppliers with plants in North America, and allocate raw materials to meet the most immediate requirements. At the same time, it undertook a broader supply assessment, both for the short and long term. “We figured we had three to four weeks of supply,” said Layfield. The challenge was to stretch those stocks as much as possible, while finding alternative suppliers. July of that year also brought devastating flooding across Thailand ““ which McCormick responded to by housing displaced employees, how to get the facilities that supplied their company up and running, and keeping employees focused on getting back on their feet. What McCormick's approach to disaster and disruption shows us is how reactive and proactive a supply chain needs to be when it hits the world stage. In each case, McCormick managed to quickly develop a cross-functional team to focus on getting the supply chain back to normal and the spices flowing.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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