Old Dominion University's Division of Digital Learning and the Maritime, Ports and Logistics Institute partnered to offer a virtual breakout session during the recent 2022 Southwest Virginia Manufacturers' Expo in Abingdon, Virginia.

The event was sponsored by the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing (SVAM), which focuses on strengthening the region's position as a world leader for advanced manufacturing opportunities. The operational performance of the supply chains plays a crucial role in the positioning of Southwest Virginia manufacturing.

Ricardo Ungo, director of ODU's Maritime, Ports and Logistics Institute, emphasized the importance of being proactive regarding the supply chain risks and having a supply chain resilience toolkit.

"Every company should always be trying to expand its toolkit," he said. "This will improve the readiness of supply chain processes when facing new disruptions."

Ungo stressed that every company should have several tools for increasing supply chain resilience.

"It is a must to do a map of the supply chain, plus generating visibility for the whole chain," he said. "It also is critical to have in place a sound evaluation of the different suppliers."

Regarding the risks associated with supplies, he said it is important to keep a risk register and identify the right risk/mitigation balance.

"Besides that, it is very useful to apply some stress tests to the current chains by assuming some scenarios of possible disruptions and observe the different impacts in performance," Ungo said. Finally, communication with the other actors in the supply chain will be crucial for the response, as well as to have in place business-continuity plans."

Lennie Gail Mitcham, executive director of the SVAM, expressed his appreciation for Ungo's presentation.

"Each year, I choose breakout sessions on topics most relevant to manufacturers," Mitcham said. "Supply chain struggles are one of the top challenges with which manufacturers are struggling. It was so beneficial to our attendees to have an expert provide helpful information as well as tips and tools to help companies help themselves."

Angela Cvetkovski, community engagement coordinator for ODU's Office of Digital Learning, noted that these types of activities demonstrate the potential for outreach by providing tips and tools for improving the readiness of the industry to face new disruptions.

"The participation in this session proves once again how there is great success when main campus and digital learning can collaborate on events such as this, allowing our main campus to engage with other regions in Virginia," she said.

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