The Rise of Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Updated: Oct 7

The Metamorphosis of Companies’ Managerial Arrays During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of the usual managerial system. As with any

major crisis, leadership should be the main shock-absorber in any company. Leading in a

chaotic environment is much more than making decisions, cutting costs and managing


Every manager at every level has to come with new perspectives to address the crisis, and

be able to produce:

  • A balance between a plan-oriented and purpose-oriented management  

  • Deep comprehension of the workforce’s changing needs  

  • Optimism and a sheer drive to move forward (remember Winston Churchill’s “when

  • you go through hell, keep going”)

In the present matter of the COVID-19 pandemic, a fascinating aspect of the leadership is its transition and metamorphosis from a “suit-and-tie approach to a more logistics

management trend.

The pandemic’s particular nature has highlighted specific core competencies of a company

that might have been on the bottom of the stack before the crisis. These competencies will

undoubtedly determine the company’s bounce-back and coping mechanism in the face of

the Coronavirus pandemic.

Several supply-chain management issues are currently on the centre stage of a company’s


  1. Supply chains and its many complicated components to handle  

  2. Last-Mile challenges  

  3. Logistics workforce management and adaptation

Usually, the logistics and supply-chain aspects are represented in the company’s board

room by the COO. However, in the present days, the COO needs to go through a quick

wardrobe change and assume the role of a CSCO. (thinking most companies don’t have a

designated Chief Supply Chain Officer, as most SMEs don’t)

So, what about supply chains? In the actual crisis, they have become the main feature on a

long list of challenges. CSCOs have handled the logistics and supply chain management in

the last years in big enterprises. However, in many SMEs, logistics and Supply Chains are

controlled by the same manager or are part of the same department.   

This is why we have to observe some required transformations in companies’ logistics

management to bounce back from the crisis.

The COO Should Lean on His Logistics and SC Managers

Logistics is, to a large extent, based on a field operation. Procurement, storage, delivery,

workforce, suppliers’ management and supply chains are parts of this long value chain.   

The organizational know-how gathered in the field, and medium-level management has no

substitute. To maintain functionality and face the current and upcoming challenges, the

COO should utilize the experience and capabilities offered by his subordinates who are

better at dealing with the various elements of logistics management.   

Inviting logistics managers to high-level management discussions to express their opinion

and use their expertise, is a viable solution for the actual crisis.

A COO and Logistics Officer Should Define Together Short to Long Term Solutions

The best effective solutions and suggestions will come from the field, from the people that

are doing the heavy work on the ground and know how things are moving. A good

COO/Logistics Officer synergy will emerge when each brings his comparative advantage to

the table.   

Building a plan to cope and face the daily challenges to a strategic “new-normal” logistics is a joint-venture. Utilizing the COO’s deep organizational acquaintance and the SCs deep

know-how experience represents a valuable solution to harnessing the company’s other

managers’ devotion.

Getting on the Stage is Necessary

Logistics and SC officers are finding themselves in a new position. Taking a more significant

role in managerial decisions, many of them being strategic ones. Answers and solutions are

requested at a growing rate, added to multiplying daily functions and tasks.

It involves using the capabilities we described above and many more. The logistics and SC

managers need to lean on their subordinates to recruit the ability to cope with the

assignments and challenges:

  • Developing a new culture – more technology-oriented, specialization of new areas

  • and changing existing ones  

  • New skillsets to acquire and the path to do it  

  • Learning from the colleagues in the other managerial positions

As you can see, logistics and chain management is a crucial part of the whole managerial

component of a company. The new leadership of today in SMEs should be a beautiful

synergy between COO and Logistics Officers, those “superhero” people on the field who

need to don their superhero cap and take centre stage.