SIMON ASHBY | Professor of Financial Services, Vlerick Business School
This paper reflects on operational resilience in the 21st century world of transboundary crises. Transboundary crises cross borders, including geographic and organizational boundaries and beyond. In so doing, transboundary crises can have surprising, even unique, consequences, atypical in both their nature and severity. In the case of COVID-19, the crisis spread rapidly from the biological world into politics, markets, and operations/supply chains, almost stopping the beating heart of our global economy.
This paper proposes a capability-based framework for thinking about operational resilience in the face of transboundary crises. This framework incorporates formal and informal elements, along with a combination of pre-crisis planning and in-crisis adaptation. The idea is to maintain flexibility, while avoiding unstructured chaos. The case of Texan supermarket chain H-E-B is used to illustrate the framework. Though not from the financial services sector, there is much that financial organizations can learn from its example.