COVID-19’s impact on global supply chains

screen capture of the 4 panelists during the webinar

Global supply chains during and post COVID-19

President Judy Olian, top right, and Matthew O'Connor, dean of the School of Business, top left, spoke with Jim Lorre, chairman and CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, bottom left, and Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO of Mattel, bottom right, on managing corporations during and post COVID-19.

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OVID-19 has changed many facets of life recently, and the global supply chain is not an exemption — no matter how minimal the disruption is.

“There is an incredible amount of complexity at a time when supply chains have been put under great stress and strain,” said Jim Lorre, chairman and CEO of Stanley Black & Decker. “We're very pleased that we've been able to come through this pandemic so far with minimum disruption in the supply chain.”

Stanley Black & Decker has close to 60,000 employees in approximately 60 countries around the world, with approximately half of them in manufacturing and distribution roles.

President Judy Olian and Matthew O'Connor, dean of the School of Business, spoke with Loree and Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO of Mattel, on managing corporations during and post COVID-19. This November 12 discussion was part of the university’s presidential speaker series, The Way Forward.

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“We probably had more surprises and more volatility this year than any of my 21 years,” said Loree.

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"What weren't doing well were industrial products where a lot of factories shut down, and those tools we provide to industries like automotive and aerospace were not selling," said Loree. "It wasn't a surprise, but it was an extreme dynamic. So, we had one part of the business that was doing really well, and we had another part that was doing not so well, but net things were very positive."

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Kreiz had a different experience.

“We're seeing is that the toy industry as a whole is doing very well with kids staying at home,” said Kreiz. “Parents prioritize spending on their children — and toys proving to be a strategic category for retailers.”

Kreiz used Barbie as an example of a brand that is doing exceptionally well during this time. He stated that gross revenues have been up 30% in the quarter and retail sales were up 50%. He explained that the success of the 62-year old brand is a combination of product innovation, design-led approach, cultural relevance and demand creation.

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"It's very much a cultural phenomenon. It has societal impact; it's driving diversity, impulsivity and purposeful play," said Kreiz. "It's been a multi-year journey with evolving body shapes, working on ethnicity, storytelling and product innovation. We very much reframe the conversation around Barbie to be very purposeful and this is resonating with consumers."

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As for the production of products, Loree said that in the first wave of COVID-19 in China, Stanley Black & Decker only had one case out of 8,000 employees.

“That was incredible to me, but it was a function of the protections that we put in early on,” explained Loree. “Day one, the safety of our employees was the number one focus of the company — and that would enable us to operate continuously. That was the second priority: to operate continuously, and you can’t get one without the other."

Loree added that China’s government tactics contributed as well.

Additional Events

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The Way Forward

Presidential speaker series

The presidential speaker series is designed to connect members of the university community with leaders, visionaries and established professionals from across the country. “The Way Forward” will offer a virtual forum to showcase and share innovative ideas and critical thinking about some of the most current and pressing challenges facing society.