The Resilient Supply Chain and Emergence of Digital Manufacturing

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The pandemic has permanently reshaped business environments and supply chains. From this, what are the lessons learned? Offering his perspective, Christoph Schell, Chief Commercial Officer at HP, joined Calvary TV host Joe Gemma. Schell has held various leadership positions with HP for the last 21 years and worked in brand management for P&G and growing the Phillips Lighting division.

Schell first described the impact of the supply chain. “The last year was an eye-opener. All these years, we’ve been optimizing the supply chain for cost and speed but never for resiliency.”

The pandemic, of course, forced resiliency to the top. Logistics were disrupted, and products in high demand that were essential could no longer drift through the ocean for weeks. It required major pivots across the board, and Schell credits this necessary shift with the acceleration of digital manufacturing.

The changing business models also impacted manufacturing, forcing a more holistic look. Schell also noted the change in the buyer. “The consumerization of IT has been gaining, but now, there’s the birth of new customer segment, the prosumer.”

The prosumer blurs the lines between technology someone uses in their personal life and professional life. These changes also highlighted the emergence of digital manufacturing, specifically 3-D printing. “These capabilities were making elbow openers and printing face shields, while the analog manufacturing supply chain was still thinking about A to B.”

Schell doesn’t think digital manufacturing will replace analog but that the two can co-exist to add value and alleviate supply chain pressure. “It’s hard to pivot in manufacturing, but organizations now realize the need for flexibility,” he said.

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