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疫情帶來的教訓:必須加強供應鏈彈性

疫情帶來的教訓:必須加強供應鏈彈性

Susan Lund, Katy George 2020年11月26日
疫情再次迫使人們認識到,運營和供應鏈風險管理的必要性,也迫使首席執行官格外重視相關問題。

當新冠疫情爆發時,耐克公司利用數字化供應鏈能夠迅速將銷往實體店的產品轉移到中國的電商配送中心。因此,在競爭對手遭受打擊之際,其收入受到的沖擊減到最低。圖片來源:DAVID RAMOS/GETTY IMAGES

正常情況下,即使盈利出現小幅下降,也會讓高管團隊如坐針氈。但與供應鏈中斷造成的損失相比,盈利下滑只能算小問題,而且這還沒有考慮到新冠疫情爆發之類重大突發事件。

如何增強供應鏈彈性方面,已經有諸多文章面世。但多年來,不少公司擔心降低短期效率,所以一直推遲采取未來能夠降低業務中斷影響的預防措施。疫情再次迫使人們認識到,運營和供應鏈風險管理的必要性,也迫使首席執行官格外重視相關問題。現在,必須考慮到意外事件發生的可能性,至少要將意外情況當作業務中斷造成損失的基準水平納入財務規劃。相關信息可以幫助企業更明智地決定如何利用資金維持供應鏈穩定。分析表明,一般大公司即便將年利潤的45%用于維持供應鏈,仍能確保10年領先。相關投資可以讓“及時”系統更好地應對“萬一”的偶然情況。

業務中斷越發頻繁和嚴重

這并非集體焦慮的虛構想法,世界確實變得更危險。環境和全球經濟變化都導致了更高頻率和更大規模的供應鏈沖擊。

每年造成超過10億美元損失的氣象災害多達幾十起,最極端事件造成的經濟損失也不斷上升,颶風勞拉和加州山火就是例子。經濟體系相互沖突的多極世界出現了更多貿易爭端、關稅和不確定性。根據世界銀行評估,與世界政治穩定排名靠后的國家相關的全球貿易份額已經從2000年的16%上升到2018年的29%,目前80%的貿易涉及政治穩定分數下降的國家。企業越發依賴數字系統,也越來越容易受到網絡攻擊。相互關聯的供應鏈和全球數據流、金融流和人員流加大了風險暴露“面”,而連鎖反應可以迅速傳遍整個網絡。

為判斷出現問題的頻率,我們走訪了汽車、航空航天、消費電子和醫藥行業數十位供應鏈專家。專家的反饋令人吃驚:每兩年都會遭受一次導致供應和生產中斷一到兩周的沖擊。更長期的事件發生頻率也比預期中頻繁。制造商預計,平均每3.7年業務就會中斷一到兩個月,而持續兩個月或更長時間的中斷則大約每五年出現一次。綿長的全球供應鏈確實能夠提升利潤率,但在該結構下開展業務時,必須充分考慮問題頻繁出現引發的實際成本。

企業已經能夠適應某些類型的經常性風險。數據泄露、盜竊和工業事故時有發生,制造商都有相應的系統和功能來防止。近年來,貿易爭端頻頻占據新聞頭條,一些跨國公司也隨之改換了經營地。

其他類型的沖擊可能比較少見,但可能造成更大損失,也需要注意。其中包括極端天氣、地震、金融危機、重大恐怖襲擊,當然還有疫情。即使有些目前全世界成功避免的災難,比如全球基礎系統遭受的網絡攻擊,也應該加入情景規劃。如果說2020年提供了什么教訓,那就是不要愚蠢地認為極端情況永遠不會發生。

供應鏈沖擊通常很難預測,但經常發生。圖片來源:McKinsey

當然,并不是每家公司或行業受到的潛在沖擊程度都一樣。我們分析了23條價值鏈,考察了足跡、生產要素和其他變量。某些行業由于存在專業化和規模經濟,供應商集中在單一的地理區域,如果該地區遭逢自然災害或局部沖突,就會出現供應嚴重短缺,導致整個網絡陷入混亂。近年來,移動電話和通信設備等行業越發集中,而醫療器械和航空航天等行業集中度降低。總的來說,我們發現貿易強度和出口集中度最高的價值鏈比其他價值鏈更容易受到沖擊。其中包括高價值和廣受歡迎的行業,如通信設備、計算機和電子產品、半導體和組件等。然而,服裝等勞動密集型價值鏈易受疫情、高溫和洪水風險影響。由于企業關注供應鏈恢復能力,決策者也在重新思考哪些因素對國家經濟安全至關重要,相關價值鏈都已經成熟,可以轉移到其他國家。

10年中,公司可以預期業務中斷至少會抹去半年的利潤

我們使用25家大規模上市公司的實際數據,為13個不同行業里假設公司搭建了具有代表性的損益表和資產負債表,然后進行壓力測試,看看停產100天的財務損失如何。針對如此嚴重的事件建模可能看起來很極端,但一項研究發現,僅在2018年五起最具破壞性的供應鏈事件就影響了全球2000多家工廠,22周到29周后才恢復。

我們的假設顯示,對多數行業公司來說,僅僅生產周期拖長就能夠抹去一年息稅折舊及攤銷前利潤(Ebitda)的30%至50%。[1]如果某事件同時影響到分銷渠道,可以導致某些行業的虧損大幅上升。

有了相關信息,就能夠根據發生概率和頻率估計十年內可以預期的最低影響。不同行業的結果各不相同,但平均而言十年內預計有可能損失一年利潤的近45%。航空航天、汽車和采礦業公司潛在的財務損失最大。該數字還不包括恢復受損資產的額外成本以及股東價值損失,震蕩后相關損失可能持續一段時間。

供應鏈中斷的預期損失相當于平均年息稅折舊及攤銷前利潤的42%(10年期內預期損失的凈現值)。來源:麥肯錫全球分析研究所

在風險更大的世界里,業務如果涉及復雜的供應鏈還有隱藏和經常性成本,此類成本只是基準。類似新冠疫情的災難性事件可能對企業的底線造成更大損害,實際損失可能讓一些制造商無法承受。

當然,事情也有另一面。有些公司或許能夠將外部沖擊轉化為機遇。如果某事件對一家公司運營和供應商造成沖擊卻未影響到競爭對手,至少在短期內甚至是永久性地提升對手的市場份額。其他公司可能抓住危機的時間窗口,在壓力下迅速成功創新推動長期增長。

對風險的新認識可以促使企業采取行動

多年來,人們已經廣泛討論讓供應鏈更透明也更具彈性的實際戰略。不過要實現確實需要長期投資或接受略高的商品成本。因此,只有小部分業界領先的公司在疫情來襲之前果斷采取了行動。

如今變革正在醞釀之中。2020年5月,麥肯錫調查了全球60位供應鏈高管。多達93%的受訪者表示,正在計劃采取措施提高供應鏈的彈性,其中一半受訪者表示比起短期盈利更看重供應鏈彈性。總體來看,53%的受訪者計劃增加供應商數量并增加冗余從而實現供應商網絡多元化;47%的受訪者計劃持有更多庫存以應對關鍵時期;40%的受訪者計劃選擇靠近海邊地區的供應基地,38%的受訪者打算分地區安排供應。

穩定性可能成為衡量公司業績的關鍵指標。投資者和客戶評估公司時,彈性可能是與環境影響和社會使命共同考慮的新因素。

總體來說,我們估計因為企業重組供應鏈,政府采取行動促進國內生產,全球商品貿易中15%至25%可能轉移到別的國家,按照2018年價值估算,約在2.9萬億美元至4.6萬億美元之間。

除了改變生產地點,要解決供應商的生產風險還有其他很多方式。疫情爆發時技術正在向工業4.0時代轉型,通過數字化轉型提升供應鏈透明度,可以同時提高生產率和彈性。

數字化可以加強對供應商上游的了解,發現隱藏在網絡深處的漏洞。航空航天公司提升數字化水平后發現,有20種不同部件采購自同一家次級供應商。發現該問題后,公司能夠與其競爭對手談判價格,消除潛在的瓶頸。當新冠病毒爆發時,耐克公司利用數字化供應鏈能夠迅速將銷往實體店的產品轉移到中國的電商配送中心。因此,在競爭對手遭受打擊之際,其收入受到的沖擊減到最低。

一些公司已經將建模區分風險當成工作重點,但往往將沖擊視為各自獨立的事件。現在分析工具支持更復雜的方法,在更廣泛也更綜合的場景下量化風險,從而可以將極端的一次性事件與連帶效應和持續的商業周期結合,同時也會考慮相關性。情景還可以整合一系列風險緩解策略,測試哪種策略效果最佳。研究結果能夠為戰略規劃和資本配置決策提供依據。

為將來的假設做準備有時現在要付出一定代價。不過,如果投資時格外注重實現價值鏈從端到端的數字化連接,隨著時間推移就能夠收獲回報,不僅可以將未來的損失降到最低,還能夠提高生產力,改善當前整個行業的生態。(財富中文網)

[1] 以凈現值計算的虧損。如果不將虧損值折現,虧損幅度將大幅上升,一年大部分利潤都會消失。

蘇珊·隆德是麥肯錫合伙人,也是麥肯錫全球研究所負責人。凱蒂·喬治是麥肯錫高級合伙人,負責北美業務。

譯者:馮豐

審校:夏林

正常情況下,即使盈利出現小幅下降,也會讓高管團隊如坐針氈。但與供應鏈中斷造成的損失相比,盈利下滑只能算小問題,而且這還沒有考慮到新冠疫情爆發之類重大突發事件。

如何增強供應鏈彈性方面,已經有諸多文章面世。但多年來,不少公司擔心降低短期效率,所以一直推遲采取未來能夠降低業務中斷影響的預防措施。疫情再次迫使人們認識到,運營和供應鏈風險管理的必要性,也迫使首席執行官格外重視相關問題。現在,必須考慮到意外事件發生的可能性,至少要將意外情況當作業務中斷造成損失的基準水平納入財務規劃。相關信息可以幫助企業更明智地決定如何利用資金維持供應鏈穩定。分析表明,一般大公司即便將年利潤的45%用于維持供應鏈,仍能確保10年領先。相關投資可以讓“及時”系統更好地應對“萬一”的偶然情況。

業務中斷越發頻繁和嚴重

這并非集體焦慮的虛構想法,世界確實變得更危險。環境和全球經濟變化都導致了更高頻率和更大規模的供應鏈沖擊。

每年造成超過10億美元損失的氣象災害多達幾十起,最極端事件造成的經濟損失也不斷上升,颶風勞拉和加州山火就是例子。經濟體系相互沖突的多極世界出現了更多貿易爭端、關稅和不確定性。根據世界銀行評估,與世界政治穩定排名靠后的國家相關的全球貿易份額已經從2000年的16%上升到2018年的29%,目前80%的貿易涉及政治穩定分數下降的國家。企業越發依賴數字系統,也越來越容易受到網絡攻擊。相互關聯的供應鏈和全球數據流、金融流和人員流加大了風險暴露“面”,而連鎖反應可以迅速傳遍整個網絡。

為判斷出現問題的頻率,我們走訪了汽車、航空航天、消費電子和醫藥行業數十位供應鏈專家。專家的反饋令人吃驚:每兩年都會遭受一次導致供應和生產中斷一到兩周的沖擊。更長期的事件發生頻率也比預期中頻繁。制造商預計,平均每3.7年業務就會中斷一到兩個月,而持續兩個月或更長時間的中斷則大約每五年出現一次。綿長的全球供應鏈確實能夠提升利潤率,但在該結構下開展業務時,必須充分考慮問題頻繁出現引發的實際成本。

企業已經能夠適應某些類型的經常性風險。數據泄露、盜竊和工業事故時有發生,制造商都有相應的系統和功能來防止。近年來,貿易爭端頻頻占據新聞頭條,一些跨國公司也隨之改換了經營地。

其他類型的沖擊可能比較少見,但可能造成更大損失,也需要注意。其中包括極端天氣、地震、金融危機、重大恐怖襲擊,當然還有疫情。即使有些目前全世界成功避免的災難,比如全球基礎系統遭受的網絡攻擊,也應該加入情景規劃。如果說2020年提供了什么教訓,那就是不要愚蠢地認為極端情況永遠不會發生。

當然,并不是每家公司或行業受到的潛在沖擊程度都一樣。我們分析了23條價值鏈,考察了足跡、生產要素和其他變量。某些行業由于存在專業化和規模經濟,供應商集中在單一的地理區域,如果該地區遭逢自然災害或局部沖突,就會出現供應嚴重短缺,導致整個網絡陷入混亂。近年來,移動電話和通信設備等行業越發集中,而醫療器械和航空航天等行業集中度降低。總的來說,我們發現貿易強度和出口集中度最高的價值鏈比其他價值鏈更容易受到沖擊。其中包括高價值和廣受歡迎的行業,如通信設備、計算機和電子產品、半導體和組件等。然而,服裝等勞動密集型價值鏈易受疫情、高溫和洪水風險影響。由于企業關注供應鏈恢復能力,決策者也在重新思考哪些因素對國家經濟安全至關重要,相關價值鏈都已經成熟,可以轉移到其他國家。

10年中,公司可以預期業務中斷至少會抹去半年的利潤

我們使用25家大規模上市公司的實際數據,為13個不同行業里假設公司搭建了具有代表性的損益表和資產負債表,然后進行壓力測試,看看停產100天的財務損失如何。針對如此嚴重的事件建模可能看起來很極端,但一項研究發現,僅在2018年五起最具破壞性的供應鏈事件就影響了全球2000多家工廠,22周到29周后才恢復。

我們的假設顯示,對多數行業公司來說,僅僅生產周期拖長就能夠抹去一年息稅折舊及攤銷前利潤(Ebitda)的30%至50%。[1]如果某事件同時影響到分銷渠道,可以導致某些行業的虧損大幅上升。

有了相關信息,就能夠根據發生概率和頻率估計十年內可以預期的最低影響。不同行業的結果各不相同,但平均而言十年內預計有可能損失一年利潤的近45%。航空航天、汽車和采礦業公司潛在的財務損失最大。該數字還不包括恢復受損資產的額外成本以及股東價值損失,震蕩后相關損失可能持續一段時間。

在風險更大的世界里,業務如果涉及復雜的供應鏈還有隱藏和經常性成本,此類成本只是基準。類似新冠疫情的災難性事件可能對企業的底線造成更大損害,實際損失可能讓一些制造商無法承受。

當然,事情也有另一面。有些公司或許能夠將外部沖擊轉化為機遇。如果某事件對一家公司運營和供應商造成沖擊卻未影響到競爭對手,至少在短期內甚至是永久性地提升對手的市場份額。其他公司可能抓住危機的時間窗口,在壓力下迅速成功創新推動長期增長。

對風險的新認識可以促使企業采取行動

多年來,人們已經廣泛討論讓供應鏈更透明也更具彈性的實際戰略。不過要實現確實需要長期投資或接受略高的商品成本。因此,只有小部分業界領先的公司在疫情來襲之前果斷采取了行動。

如今變革正在醞釀之中。2020年5月,麥肯錫調查了全球60位供應鏈高管。多達93%的受訪者表示,正在計劃采取措施提高供應鏈的彈性,其中一半受訪者表示比起短期盈利更看重供應鏈彈性。總體來看,53%的受訪者計劃增加供應商數量并增加冗余從而實現供應商網絡多元化;47%的受訪者計劃持有更多庫存以應對關鍵時期;40%的受訪者計劃選擇靠近海邊地區的供應基地,38%的受訪者打算分地區安排供應。

穩定性可能成為衡量公司業績的關鍵指標。投資者和客戶評估公司時,彈性可能是與環境影響和社會使命共同考慮的新因素。

總體來說,我們估計因為企業重組供應鏈,政府采取行動促進國內生產,全球商品貿易中15%至25%可能轉移到別的國家,按照2018年價值估算,約在2.9萬億美元至4.6萬億美元之間。

除了改變生產地點,要解決供應商的生產風險還有其他很多方式。疫情爆發時技術正在向工業4.0時代轉型,通過數字化轉型提升供應鏈透明度,可以同時提高生產率和彈性。

數字化可以加強對供應商上游的了解,發現隱藏在網絡深處的漏洞。航空航天公司提升數字化水平后發現,有20種不同部件采購自同一家次級供應商。發現該問題后,公司能夠與其競爭對手談判價格,消除潛在的瓶頸。當新冠病毒爆發時,耐克公司利用數字化供應鏈能夠迅速將銷往實體店的產品轉移到中國的電商配送中心。因此,在競爭對手遭受打擊之際,其收入受到的沖擊減到最低。

一些公司已經將建模區分風險當成工作重點,但往往將沖擊視為各自獨立的事件。現在分析工具支持更復雜的方法,在更廣泛也更綜合的場景下量化風險,從而可以將極端的一次性事件與連帶效應和持續的商業周期結合,同時也會考慮相關性。情景還可以整合一系列風險緩解策略,測試哪種策略效果最佳。研究結果能夠為戰略規劃和資本配置決策提供依據。

為將來的假設做準備有時現在要付出一定代價。不過,如果投資時格外注重實現價值鏈從端到端的數字化連接,隨著時間推移就能夠收獲回報,不僅可以將未來的損失降到最低,還能夠提高生產力,改善當前整個行業的生態。(財富中文網)

[1] 以凈現值計算的虧損。如果不將虧損值折現,虧損幅度將大幅上升,一年大部分利潤都會消失。

蘇珊·隆德是麥肯錫合伙人,也是麥肯錫全球研究所負責人。凱蒂·喬治是麥肯錫高級合伙人,負責北美業務。

譯者:馮豐

審校:夏林

In normal times, the prospect of having to announce even a small drop in earnings is enough to make an executive team sweat. But that kind of setback pales in comparison to the losses that supply chain disruptions routinely inflict—and that’s without taking into account huge outlier events like the COVID pandemic.

Much has been written about how to make supply chains more resilient. But for years, many companies, wary of eroding efficiency in the immediate term, put off the preventive measures that could minimize the impact of disruptions in the future. The pandemic has once again driven home the necessity of managing operational and supply chain risk—and it has catapulted these issues to the top of CEO agendas. Now the unexpected has to be considered probable, and at least a baseline level of expected losses from disruption should be embedded into financial planning. This information can help companies make better decisions about how to invest in supply chain stability. Our analysis indicates that an average large company could spend up to 45% of one year’s profits in resilience measures and still come out ahead over a decade. That investment can leave “just in time” systems better prepared for “just in case” eventualities.

Disruptions are growing more frequent and severe

It’s not just a figment of our collective anxiety: The world really has become riskier. Changes in the environment and in the global economy are increasing the frequency and magnitude of supply chain shocks.

Dozens of weather disasters each year cause damages exceeding a billion dollars each—and the economic toll caused by the most extreme events has been escalating, as Hurricane Laura and the California wildfires are proving yet again. A multipolar world with clashing economic systems is producing more trade disputes, tariffs, and uncertainty. The share of global trade conducted with countries ranked in the bottom half of the world for political stability, as assessed by the World Bank, has risen from 16% in 2000 to 29% in 2018, and 80% of trade now flows through countries with declining political stability scores. As companies become more reliant on digital systems, they are also more exposed to cyberattacks. Interconnected supply chains and global flows of data, finance, and people offer more “surface area” for risk to penetrate, and ripple effects can travel across these network structures rapidly.

We surveyed dozens of supply chain experts in the automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, and pharmaceutical industries to gauge just how frequently things go wrong. Their responses were surprising: Every two years brings a shock that halts supply and production for one to two weeks. More prolonged events also come around more frequently than might be expected. Manufacturers can expect disruptions lasting one to two months to occur every 3.7 years on average, and those dragging on for two months or longer every five years or so. Lengthy global supply chains deliver real margin improvements, but events of this frequency have to be fully accounted for as a real cost of doing business with this kind of structure.

Companies are already attuned to some types of risk simply because they encounter them more often. Data breaches, theft, and industrial accidents happen, and manufacturers have systems and functions in place to try to prevent them. Trade disputes, too, have dominated the headlines in recent years, leading some multinationals to alter their geographic footprint.

Other types of shocks may be rare occurrences, but they can inflict much bigger losses and need to be on the radar screen as well. They include extreme weather, earthquakes, financial crises, major terrorist attacks, and, yes, pandemics. Even some calamities that the world has avoided to date, such as a cyberattack on foundational global systems, should be part of scenario planning. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the folly of assuming that extreme scenarios will never come to pass.

Not every company or industry is exposed to these potential shocks to the same degree. We analyzed 23 value chains, looking at their footprint, factors of production, and other variables. In some industries, suppliers are heavily concentrated in a single geography owing to specialization and economies of scale—but a natural disaster or localized conflict in that part of the world can cause critical shortages that snarl the entire network. Industries such as mobile phones and communication equipment have become more concentrated in recent years, while others, including medical devices and aerospace, have become less so. Overall, we find that value chains with the highest trade intensity and export concentration are more exposed to shocks than others. They include some high-value and sought-after industries, such as communication equipment, computers and electronics, and semiconductors and components. However, labor-intensive value chains such as apparel are vulnerable to pandemics, heat stress, and flood risk. All of these value chains are ripe for shifts to different countries as companies focus on resilience and policy makers rethink what is essential to national economic security.

Over the course of a decade, companies can expect disruptions to erase half a year’s worth of profits at a minimum

We built representative income statements and balance sheets for hypothetical companies in 13 different industries, using actual data from the 25 largest public companies in each. We then put them through a stress test to see what kind of financial losses a 100-day shutdown would produce. Modeling an event of this severity may seem extreme, but one study found that in 2018 alone, the five most disruptive supply chain events affected more than 2,000 sites worldwide and took factories 22 to 29 weeks to recover.

Our scenarios show that a single prolonged production-only shock would wipe out between 30% and 50% of one year’s Ebitda for companies in most industries.[1] An event that also disrupts distribution channels would push the losses sharply higher in some industries.

This information makes it possible to estimate a minimum bottom-line impact companies can expect over the course of a decade, based on the probabilities and frequency of occurrence. The results vary across industries, but on average, companies can expect to lose almost 45% of one year’s profits over the course of a decade. The potential for financial losses is largest for companies in the aerospace, automotive, and mining industries. These figures do not include the additional cost of rebuilding damaged physical assets or the destruction of shareholder value, which may persist for some time after the shock.

These are the hidden and recurring costs of doing business with complex supply chains in a riskier world—and they are only the baseline. Catastrophic events such as the COVID pandemic can inflict far greater damage to the bottom line, creating losses that some manufacturers may not be able to withstand.

There is a flip side, however. Individual companies may be able to turn external shocks into lemonade. Events that strike one company’s operations and suppliers but not a competitor’s can boost the latter’s market share, at least temporarily but perhaps permanently. Others may seize on a crisis, innovating quickly and successfully under pressure in ways that propel growth over the long term.

A newfound appreciation for risk is prompting companies to act

Practical strategies for making supply chains more transparent and resilient have been widely discussed for years. But they do require making long-term investments or accepting a slightly higher cost of goods. For that reason, only a small group of leading companies had taken decisive action before the pandemic hit.

But now change is brewing. McKinsey surveyed 60 global supply chain executives in May 2020. An overwhelming 93% reported that they plan to take steps to make their supply chains more resilient—and half of them were willing to prioritize resilience over short-term profitability. Overall, 53% of respondents plan to diversify their supplier network by qualifying more vendors and building in redundancies; 47% plan to hold more inventory of critical inputs; 40% plan to near-shore their supply base, and 38% plan to regionalize it.

Stability may be emerging as a key metric for measuring corporate performance. Resilience may be a new element considered alongside environmental impact and social purpose as investors and customers assess companies.

In total, we estimate that 15% to 25% of global goods trade, worth between $2.9 trillion and $4.6 trillion in 2018, may shift to different countries over the next five years owing to a combination of companies restructuring their supply chains and governments taking action to boost domestic production.

But there are many other ways to address risk that go beyond changing the physical location of production and switching to new suppliers. The pandemic has occurred at a moment when technology is leapfrogging forward into the era of Industry 4.0—and creating supply chain transparency through digitization can boost productivity and resilience simultaneously.

Digitization enables visibility into who supplies your suppliers and spots vulnerabilities hidden deep in the lower tiers of the network. One aerospace company that undertook this effort found that it was sole-sourcing 20 different components from sub-tier suppliers; identifying this issue enabled the company to bargain for better prices with competitors and to remove this potential bottleneck. When the COVID pandemic broke out, Nike’s digitized supply chain enabled the company to quickly shift products headed for brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce fulfillment centers in China. As a result, it minimized the hit to revenue at a time when its competitors sustained much larger hits.

Some companies have made it a point to model prioritized risks, but they have often done so by looking at these shocks as discrete events. Now analytics tools enable a more sophisticated approach that quantifies risks in the context of broader and more integrated scenarios. This makes it possible to combine extreme one-off events with knock-on effects and the ongoing business cycle, taking correlations into account. Scenarios can also integrate a range of risk-mitigation strategies to test which would be most effective. The results can then inform strategic planning and capital allocation decisions.

Preparing for future hypotheticals sometimes has a present-day cost. But if those investments focus on digitally connecting the entire value chain from end to end, they can pay off over time—not only minimizing future losses but boosting productivity and strengthening entire industry ecosystems today.

[1] Losses measured in net present value. If losses are not discounted, they would range significantly higher, wiping out the majority of a year’s profits.

Susan Lund is a partner of McKinsey & Company and a leader of the McKinsey Global Institute. Katy George is a senior partner of McKinsey & Company and leader of the Operations Practice in North America.

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