Update June 21, 2023: Check out our latest book recommendations in 6 Must-Read Supply Chain Books 2023.
With any growing business discipline, there will always be the need for publications that are both insightful and engaging. As global supply chains become more interconnected and entangled, there is a growing demand in the supply chain management community for books, case studies, critical success stories, best practices, and publications that provide concise and intriguing intelligence into supply chain risk management and resiliency.
Fortunately, there are numerous authors providing companies with fresh and timeless insights to better manage the everyday and unexpected risks and disruptions along the global supply chain. So many books, so little time.
That said, we’ve whittled down six worthwhile reads we believe best represent the growing discipline of supply chain risk management and resiliency. By no means is this an exhaustive list – just a few poignant works we think should live on your bookshelf.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” – Oscar Wilde
#1 The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage
The Resilient Enterprise by Dr. Yossi Sheffi, Elisha Gray II Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT and Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, has become one of the most influential supply chain resiliency books since its publication in 2005. In The Resilient Enterprise, Dr. Sheffi makes the case for corporate resilience, asserting supply chain resiliency investments not only decrease risk but generate a competitive advantage in an increasingly volatile marketplace.
Through numerous case studies and cautionary tales of some of the world’s largest companies, Dr. Sheffi explores high-impact/low-probability supply chain disruptions and the tools companies can use to reduce the vulnerability of their supply chains while fostering an overarching culture of resiliency.
“A crucial book for anyone involved in operations and logistics to understand how to build a truly flexible organization that can not only withstand but thrive in a risky world.” —Patrick T. Harker, Dean of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
#2 X-SCM: The New Science of X-treme Supply Chain Management
Authored by Lisa H. Harrington, Dr. Sandor Boyson, and Dr. Thomas M. Corsi from the University of Maryland, X-SCM: The New Science of X-treme Supply Chain Management is an inquiry into how companies survive and prosper in highly volatile, oscillating business environments. Produced in partnership with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the book argues today’s global business environment needs a fresh science of supply chain management – a discipline based on rapid risk assessment and response that upends traditional supply chain assumptions of continuous growth, nonstop globalization, and constant demand inflation. This is what the authors call “X-treme Supply Chain Management.”
XSCM: The New Science of X-treme Supply Chain Management contains contributions from world-renowned experts in supply chain risk and volatility management that address the supply chain in all of its forms: physical, financial, cyber, and service. The book is designed for anyone responsible for managing part or all of a global supply chain, providing best practices and a unique and practical toolkit with which to manage supply chain volatility.
“X-SCM brings us unique ideas about how today’s supply chains must consider complex volatility within a global network of key supply chain participants. This book is designed not only for those new to this exciting discipline, but also for savvy professionals who deal with a seemingly endless set of unforeseen circumstances, yet prevail through creativity and innovation.” — Rick D. Blasgen, President and CEO Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
#3 The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected
Authored by Dr. Yossi Sheffi and published in 2015, The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected explains why modern global vulnerabilities require innovative processes and tools for creating and fostering enterprise resilience and risk management. Providing insightful case studies unfurling how some of the largest companies have prepared for, dealt with, and even prospered following significant supply chain disruptions, Dr. Sheffi examines deep tier risks in addition to corporate responsibility, long-term disruptions, cybersecurity, business continuity planning, emergency operations centers, detection, and systemic disruptions.
As Dr. Sheffi points out, supply chain risk management is a continuous balancing act between shouldering the risks involved in new products, new markets, and new processes, and the supply chain resilience cultivated by proactive risk management.
“Yossi Sheffi displays a wealth of knowledge about large global enterprise in The Power of Resilience that is unprecedented. Senior executives will gain unique insights and manage much more effectively having read it.” – Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, Fedex Corporation
#4 Single Point of Failure: The 10 Essential Laws of Supply Chain Risk Management
Published in 2009 by renowned supply chain thought leader Gary S. Lynch, Single Point of Failure: The 10 Essential Laws of Supply Chain Risk Management presents analogies and dozens of case studies that describe what Mr. Lynch refers to as the “risk parasite” and how it infects all supply chains while revealing methods to neutralize those risks. The book addresses the following questions:
- What are the “single points of failure” in one’s supply chain?
- How exposed are customers, investors, other stakeholders, and ultimately the organization?
- What is the measurable impact (i.e. brand, financial, strategic, and non-compliance)?
- Who establishes the “risk paradigm”?
- How does the organization efficiently and effectively allocate precious resources – time, people, management attention, and capital?
Addressing these questions, Mr. Lynch lays out a “Ten Commandments” of sorts for supply chain management. Given Mr. Lynch’s 30 years of supply chain experience and extensive insights, “Single Point of Failure” should be on every supply chain professional’s bookshelf.
“With Single Point of Failure, Mr. Lynch brings supply chain risk to life and makes it accessible to all walks of businesspeople. It’s a fast-paced book that crystallizes the key business issues with a rich blend of insight and humor! Essential reading for all levels of business managers!”— James Irwin, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager at Roche
#5 The Ultimate Guide to Supply Chain Resiliency Program Success
Jointly released by the Global Supply Chain Resiliency Council and Resilinc, The Ultimate Guide to Supply Chain Resiliency handbook provides SCRM practitioners with step-by-step suggestions and guidance on how to create, roll-out, and institutionalize a global supply chain resiliency program (SCRP). The handbook provides extensive information on the topic of building and managing a SCRP that adequately addresses the crucial initial phase of building the business case, establishing strategic alignment, and securing executive sponsorship.
The free-for-download handbook untangles the confusing array of processes and labels for those processes (e.g. risk assessment, risk analysis, risk evaluation), as well as their associated best practices. This guide aims to refresh and organize program implementation and maturation best practices into a single comprehensive and easier to navigate reference and starting point for building a world-class supply chain resiliency program.
#6 Supply Chain Risk: Understanding Emerging Threats to Global Supply Chains
In Supply Chain Risk, John Manners-Bell, CEO of Transport Intelligence, describes the evolving risks facing global supply chains and how companies should strategically address them. The collection of case studies explores the numerous sources of external risks, including the geopolitical, economic, environmental, and technological aspects of supply chain risk.
The case studies provide in-depth expositions of the respective company’s supply chain strategy, the disruption which had occurred, the consequences and material losses incurred, and the subsequent changes made to the company’s overall supply chain strategy to be better suited for future risks. In addition, Supply Chain Risk also provides useful downloadable resources tailored for SCRM practitioners.
Supply Chain Risk does not harp on the elimination of risk but emphasizes how to build and foster resiliency by learning from past precedents. Even if risks cannot be avoided, they can be weighed, evaluated, and balanced in such a way that they become opportunities for competitive advantage. Since its publication in 2014, Supply Chain Risks has proven to be an essential read for the supply chain management community.
Don’t forget to check out our latest book recommendations in 6 Must-Read Supply Chain Books 2023.