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The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage


  • Yossi Sheffi

    () (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


What happens when fire strikes the manufacturing plant of the sole supplier for the brake pressure valve used in every Toyota? When a hurricane shuts down production at a Unilever plant? When Dell and Apple chip manufacturers in Taiwan take weeks to recover from an earthquake? When the U.S. Pacific ports are shut down during the Christmas rush? When terrorists strike? In The Resilient Enterprise, Yossi Sheffi shows that companies' fortunes in the face of such business shocks depend more on choices made before the disruption than they do on actions taken in the midst of it—and that resilience benefits firms every day, disaster or no disaster. He shows how companies can build in flexibility throughout their supply chains, based on proven design principles and the right culture—balancing security, redundancy, and short-term profits. And he shows how investments in resilience and flexibility not only reduce risk but create a competitive advantage in the increasingly volatile marketplace. Sheffi describes the way companies can increase security—reducing the likelihood of a disruption—with layered defenses, the tracking and analysis of “near-misses,” fast detection, and close collaboration with government agencies, trading partners, and even competitors. But the focus of the book is on resilience—the ability to bounce back from disruptions and disasters—by building in redundancy and flexibility. For example, standardization, modular design, and collaborative relationships with suppliers (and other stakeholders) can help create a robust supply chain. And a corporate culture of flexibility—with distributed decision making and communications at all levels—can create a resilient enterprise. Sheffi provides tools for companies to reduce the vulnerability of the supply chain they live in. And along the way he tells the stories of dozens of enterprises, large and small, including Toyota, Nokia, General Motors, Zara, Land Rover, Chiquita, Aisin Seiki, Southwest Airlines, UPS, Johnson and Johnson, Intel,, the U.S. Navy, and others, from across the globe. Their successes, failures, preparations, and methods provide a rich set of lessons in preparing for and managing disruptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Yossi Sheffi, 2005. "The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262693496, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262693496

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Van Wijnbergen, Sweden, 1986. "On fiscal deficits, the real exchange rate and the world rate of interest," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1013-1023, October.
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    4. Sutherland, Alan, 1997. "Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 147-162, August.
    5. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
    6. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    7. Uzawa, H, 1969. "Time Preference and the Penrose Effect in a Two-Class Model of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 628-652, Part II, .
    8. van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1987. "Tariffs, Employment and the Current Account: Real Wage Resistance and the Macroeconomics of Protectionism," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 691-706, October.
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    More about this item


    resilient enterprises; supply chains; corporate culture; competitive advantage;

    JEL classification:

    • M1 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior


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