WHU General

What Would the Deglobalization of Supply Chains Mean Exactly?

Experts meet at the WHU – Campus for Supply Chain Management to discuss the challenges of today’s volatile times

Experts and students alike came together at the Vallendar campus of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management to dialogue about the topics relevant to this year’s WHU – Campus for Supply Chain Management conference, run under the theme “De-globalization of supply chains – how to act in times of a changing geopolitical world order.” Starting on March 16, 2023, this two-day event gave students a chance to partake in interesting presentations, make connections, and gain insights into how different companies are coping with the state of world affairs having become increasingly volatile over the years.

On the first day, following an opening address from Arthur Körner, the event’s general manager, Professor Kai Hoberg from the Kühne Logistics University offered a glimpse into the challenges and opportunities that companies would have if they reverted to using regional supply chains. Participants then had a chance to present their own innovative business models and discuss their vision of the future during the subsequent pitch battle and career fair. Before everyone headed off to the gala dinner, Arnaud Blazy from the UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency took the stage. The UN representative held a presentation on how the United Nations supports refugees with the large amount of humanitarian supplies it has distributed at warehouses located around the world—and how these warehouses could be managed more efficiently on an international level.

The second day of the conference saw representatives from various logistics companies present their approaches. Jens Ritter, CEO of Lufthansa, reported on the bitter setbacks that the airline had to contend with at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to him, supply chain disruption is not reflected exclusively in the years-long delivery delays in new airplanes; materials necessary for the maintenance of certain aircraft were also directly affected, leading to several planes being grounded. Ritter continued, mentioning that today’s geopolitical conflicts are having an impact on flight paths, which, in turn, means that the company incurs additional costs. Later presentations from Tobias Jerschke, CEO Kühne + Nagel Deutschland, and Rebecca Koch, CPO Europe at DB Schenker, also tackled the topics of deglobalization and reorientation of today’s supply chains.

After focusing for two days on the most recent challenges the world is seeing when it comes to value creation, the students all walked away from the conference with knowledge of one thing: There is a need for young and ambitious talent who are ready to tackle the problems of the day and find new, innovative solutions for supply chain disruption.