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How to Manage Global Supply Chains

How to Manage Global Supply Chains

How to Manage Global Supply Chains

How to Manage Global Supply Chains: Insights from Leigh Obradovic on Trade Policy and Supply Chain Resilience


Managing global supply chains is a complex and dynamic task, requiring a strategic approach to navigate economic fluctuations, geopolitical factors, and evolving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations. Leigh Obradovic, a seasoned advisor with two decades of experience across industry, government, and top-tier consulting firms, and currently with Toll Group, offers invaluable insights into the intricacies of global logistics and supply chain management.

Leigh’s extensive background provides a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities within global supply chains. His expertise spans trade market access, WTO disputes, policy reform, and the strategic importance of supply chain resilience and diversification.

Priyani Withanaarachchi, the Supply Chain Manager ANZ at GWM Australia and New Zealand and an Adjunct Faculty Member at AcademyGlobal, expertly guided the conversation, ensuring a rich and engaging dialogue.

Key Insights and Trends:

Global Supply Chain Shifts:

Leigh emphasised the evolution of global supply chains, particularly in response to economic fluctuations. He highlighted the importance of diversification to mitigate risks associated with concentrated supply chains, a lesson underscored by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strategic Importance of Supply Chains:

Supply chains have moved from being operational concerns to central strategic considerations for executive teams and boards. Leigh noted that supply chain resilience and agility are now critical factors in business planning, driven by market demands and geopolitical factors.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Considerations:

Leigh discussed the growing importance of ESG factors in supply chain management. He pointed out that the motivation for ESG compliance increasingly comes from the private sector, with investors and customers demanding robust decarbonisation strategies and ethical business practices.


Challenges and Opportunities:

Technological Advancements:

This conversation touched on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and digitalisation in enhancing supply chain efficiencies. Leigh acknowledged the regulatory challenges but emphasised the potential benefits of AI in managing complex supply chain operations.

Government and Industry Collaboration:

Leigh shared insights on effective industry-government collaboration, using the example of new vehicle efficiency standards. He stressed the importance of mutual understanding and communication to achieve beneficial outcomes in trade and supply chain policies.

Future Trends:

Looking ahead, Leigh identified several upcoming trends and challenges in global trade and supply chain management, including the need for ongoing diversification, the impact of ESG considerations, and the role of technological innovations.


Managing global supply chains requires a strategic approach that incorporates resilience, agility, and a keen awareness of evolving trends and challenges. Leigh Obradovic’s insights highlight the importance of diversification, the strategic role of supply chains in business planning, and the growing influence of ESG factors.
As we move forward, the integration of advanced technologies and effective collaboration between industry and government will be critical in navigating the complexities of global supply chains. By embracing these insights and strategies, businesses can better prepare for the future and achieve sustained success in an ever-changing global market.