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Managing Supply Chain Risk During COVID-19: A Personal Insight from Trinity MBA Graduate Pedro Cardone

Pedro Cardone, Executive MBA graduate 2018 recently met and mentored (virtually) our current MBA students as part of their operations strategy class. He talks to us about risk in supply chain, contingency and how his firm are shoring up their preparations:

"I lead the Global External Supply organisation for Europe and Latin America in Zoetis (Animal Health company formerly known as Pfizer Animal Health), that is responsible for managing the supply operation in third party manufacturing companies, called CMOs (contract manufacturing organisations). Like most businesses, Zoetis also outsources part of its manufacturing to CMOs for strategic reasons and economies of scale.

Part of our risk management program (called BCP – Business Continuity Plan) is to try and plan ahead of time for all possible risk scenarios and create a mitigation plan to put in action when needed to reduce or eliminate those risks, so the supply chain of our products can continue normally with little (or no) impact to our customers. These risk scenarios could be as simple as a manufacturing problem (i.e. breakdown of important equipment) to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes etc. Being in the pharmaceutical industry, quality and regulatory risks are two of the most important to manage on an ongoing basis but the idea is to capture “all possible risks” and continue to build around it as a “live document”.

COVID-19 has shown us how our BCP needs to be updated for this type of risk (pandemic) as it was not foreseen before. With that, Zoetis has created a new governance process to deal with this crisis that consists of a “crisis committee” that works in various levels of the company to assess on a daily basis the impacts coming from COVID and what mitigation plans are required to reduce risk and supply impact. Basically, we monitor our CMOs very closely (daily quick 30 minute call updates), which are summarized and escalated up to the Leadership Team on a Balanced Scorecard format, showing where the impact is, how big it is and what are the options we have to overcome the issue.

Animal Health is considered an essential business for supporting the production of livestock (animal protein) that is critical for the food industry so the impact so far has (thankfully) been limited due to great team work and reliable suppliers in most cases. Another contributing factor is that the hygiene standards of a pharmaceutical manufacturing site are already great on a routine basis to meet current regulatory requirements, such as specific protective equipment and clothing, full sanitation of hands, fewer people on the manufacturing line, clean environment with air control and filters, face masks etc.

In honesty, we are also learning as we go and improving the way we manage risk but being an essential business, we are ensuring costumers are not impacted so farms and livestock producers can continue to produce food for us all. And on a personal level, having all the knowledge I’ve learned in the MBA is helping me manage better my portfolio, navigate better through the daily issues I face on operations and in dealing better with my team to support them during these stressful times."

Pedro Cardone, Executive MBA Graduate 2018

Find out more about our MBA programme here.

Media Contact:

Jessica Chandok, Communications Officer | jpratt@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 2731