Jonquil Photo Origina
over 2 years ago by Jon Dweck


January 2020 - with Jonquil Hackenberg, managing partner at Infosys


The 10 questions are shown below for those of you that have simply moved on from paragraphs and only interact with content if it appears in a numbered list! (don’t worry, we aren’t judging…)

If you agree or disagree with anything stated in the list, it would be great to hear your comments via LinkedIn or personally at – the purpose of this series is to drive conversation so jump on board!

This is the very first blog of our new series: How Supply Chain Saves The World. Once marketeers and company leaders have completed defining and communicating an organisation’s sustainability agenda, it will be left to supply chain leaders and professionals, from R&D and procurement through to manufacturing and logistics, to deliver. We should all be highly motivated to do our bit to make this brave new world work. I am no longer a supply chain practitioner myself but I’ve got a network and I know how to chat so this is my attempt to utilise what I can to drive the sustainability conversation within supply chain.

I really do believe that supply chain will save the world, but I also believe it is the greatest challenge we, the supply chain community, have ever faced. We need new thinking, new structures, new approaches and new measures. We need better data and more collaboration. And there is no blueprint to follow. So where do we start? In this first episode, I am joined by Jonquil Hackenberg to discuss this. I am lucky enough to have such an inspiring and knowledgeable person as a friend as we go back all the way to our shared grad scheme in the late 90s. She is now a managing partner at Infosys consulting, focusing on areas such as digital supply chain, sustainability, and sustainable workforces. She joined me on a cold evening at the end of January, having just returned from the world economic forum in Davos. Over a couple of glasses of wine, we talked through what she learnt in Davos – about how finance and investor communities are changing their approach to the environment. We then turned our attention to the impact of those changes on the future of consumer behaviour and supply chain management.

From our conversation, below is a summary of the key questions for supply chain leaders to consider in relation to their supply chain sustainability strategy. Future episodes will explore the individual questions posed below in greater detail…

1. Should your supply chain be an early adopter or a follower when it comes to sustainability?

Fast follower is often considered the most effective position to adopt, but is this appropriate this time around? The answer depends on what industry you are within, what crisis you are currently facing and what base you are starting from.

2. Do you have the skills and behaviours required to lead your organisation’s sustainability agenda?

The soft skills required within a supply chain leader are increasing. For example, setting and driving the agenda from within via the use of storytelling will be expected in the future. Episode 2 will explore these specific themes in more detail.

3. Does your supply chain include every sub-function required to deliver meaningful sustainability goals?

If we are moving towards a truly circular economy, surely R&D, procurement and manufacturing must sit alongside planning and logistics in order to drive a holistic approach?

4. Is there a silo mentality within your existing supply chain functions that blocks meaningful sustainability gains?

Even if your supply chain incorporates every element of your end to end operations, are the individual sub functions working effectively together? Is there the right tension or simply just tension?

5. Should sustainability sit within your supply chain function?

If we accept that the data capturing capabilities and skills/knowledge required to deliver sustainability agendas sit within supply chain – then surely it must sit within? If not, where? And what impact could that have on the effectiveness of sustainability strategy?

6. Is improved product development more important than packaging redesign and reduction of plastics?

As Ellen MacArthur says “If you don’t design with value in mind, you are creating waste”. With so much current focus on recycling, are we missing the point while following media-led agendas?

7. Do you need to improve the diversity of your talent to deliver sustainability goals within your supply chain?

Traditionally valued supply chain characteristics such as pragmatism, attention to detail and depth specialism now need to be complemented by creativity, disruptive thinking and influencing.

8. Do you have the required Internal or External HR/Talent support to help you design and build your supply chain teams for the future?

Knowing the new behaviours and skills required for your future supply chain is one thing; having the ability to implement a new talent strategy requires support.

9. Does your supply chain collaborate outside of the confines of your own business?

Are your procurement processes limiting collaboration? Do you have meaningful partnerships that can supplement the performance of the entire circular economy within which you exist? Do you network with other supply chain professionals only or do you expand your horizons further?

10. Can you already capture the right data to measure your supply chain’s environmental impact?

The business world is moving to triple bottom line reporting. That means your organisation will likely have to report on environmental impact as well as financial performance in the future. How far away are you from being able to deliver this?

What is coming next?

Episode 1 clearly underlines the role of leadership within supply chain as truly critical if Supply Chain is to Save The World. Rebecca Morley, award winning leadership coach and ex-supply chain leader within RB and Danone, joins Jon to discuss the challenges in leadership for supply chain professionals, the requirements of future supply chain leaders, and tips on how to make it.

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