Michele Palumbo

Michele Palumbo

Head of Supply Chain Management

Michele Palumbo, Head of Supply Chain Management at Bayer, discusses how the COVID-19 crisis may actually strengthen supply chains in the long-run...

With over 20 years’ experience within the supply chain and logistics industry, Michele Palumbo is currently the Head of Supply Chain Management at Bayer S.p.A. (Italy).

Palumbo has worked at a number of companies during his career. Prior to joining Bayer in 2010, he worked at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Hoechst Italia S.p.A., Gruppo COMIFAR and various pharmaceutical companies as a consultant in operations and supply chain management. Currently, Palumbo is a member of the Scientific Committee of Il Sole 24 ORE Formazione|Eventi and Adjunct Professor at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.

With his broad range of experience within the industry, Palumbo is well placed to discuss the evolution of supply chain and logistics, and the impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the industry. He also has an acute understanding of the technologies - such as cloud computing, advanced radio-frequency identification (RFID), and more - that have both contributed to Bayer’s own digital transformation journey, and are driving the supply chain of the future.

Despite the worldwide disruptions to supply chains, Palumbo believes that emerging trends in the sector were already gaining momentum; they have merely accelerated as a response. “The impact on industries we are seeing today, I believe, were already rooted a long time ago in the first economical crisis back in the 1930s. Many have previously tried to explain and provide solutions for this revolution, from economists and politicians, through to tycoons, ideologists and more, each one putting profit, capital, the workers or the environment at the centre of this economic universe. However, none had a comprehensive perspective.

A firm believer in the power of technology to drive collaboration and visibility, Palumbo cites modern developments which allow for pinpoint accuracy in the tracking of an item to be a harbinger of “the end of the invisible supply chain, where no news means good news. In the future, customers and all the actors involved in the supply chain processes will be interested in having full visibility across the distribution processes.”

Reflecting on the, perhaps, uncertain future of the market, he remains optimistic that there is a silver lining to the experience: “We’ve collectively realised how fragile our supply chains are; as a result of coronavirus, it’s become clear how important it is to have reliable digital systems that show us the reality of the whole supply chain; threats like coronavirus will make us stronger because our supply chain will be able to meet the challenge,” Palumbo concludes. “[Bayer] is the story of the supply chain of tomorrow, where everything is interconnected, everything is feasible and a digital ecosystem is able to cope with threats that we can’t predict today.”

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