Supply chain lessons from Land O’Lakes

Apple’s Tim Cook is not the only CEO wrestling with production and distribution in the age of COVID.

From CEO Daily, posted Wednesday by Fortune’s Alan Murray: 

Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford spoke virtually with the Fortune Most Powerful Women community yesterday about the disruption the pandemic is causing to the food system. “Production is not the issue,” she said . “We have plenty of food. Part of the problem is we have too much milk, too many cattle, too many hogs. What we have is a distribution problem.”

The challenge, she said, is that “over time, these supply chains were made hyper efficient. Everything was ‘just-in-time.’“ When restaurants shut down and home demand soared, “there was just not a lot of room to change… It’s not easy to change your platform because the margins are so narrow.”

My take: Too much milk! Too many hogs!


  1. David Emery said:
    “Efficiency has its risks…” I’ve seen this discussed (usually in the context of military logistics). Logisticians, operations researchers and probably many economists understand the trade-offs. It’s not clear they teach this in MBA programs, though.

    May 20, 2020

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