SupplySide West panel discussed resilience in face of supply chain challenges

Heather Fairman, Founder & CEO, DF Guardian Consulting Inc.

March 29, 2023

3 Min Read
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On Nov. 4, 2022, five corporate leaders from the ingredient supplier, contract manufacturer and CPG sectors of the dietary supplement industry participated in an important panel discussion at SupplySide West.

These leaders discussed and shared business challenges they faced during the Covid-19 period of supply chain disruption, and some effective strategies to overcome the latter challenges. It was a panel like no other.

The session, “Supply chain strain causes business interruption,” was moderated by Natural Alternatives International Inc. (NAI) founder, chairman and CEO Mark LeDoux.

Each company leader shared his or her challenges and “wins” in an engaging and transparent manner, all offering hope, and providing resilient examples to the industry on how they overcame the disruptions. Their stories included: not getting raw ingredient shipments on time or at all; uniquely navigating and negotiating port deliveries of goods; tackling transport and storage issues; and of course, having to undertake very hard discussions with customers about lack of ingredients or product manufacturing and shipment delays. 

Resilience, persistence, endurance and collaboration were among some of the key factors that sustained their businesses and partnerships through the pandemic—factors which continue as core values for them all today.

Related:Ingredient supplier discusses supply chain challenges, leadership

Toward the end of this very “edge-of-the-seat” engaging panel discussion, a question was posed to the panel regarding the people in their lives who contributed to impacting their resilience and leadership styles. The atmosphere in the room shifted to a hushed lull as each leader delivered their personal story, describing the “who,” “when” and “how” of the influencers in their lives.

You could feel the energy in the room turn to one of profound captivation. These leaders lifted the curtain on the “humanity” of the supply chain. Suddenly, the supply chain became a living, breathing, feeling model—of people and lives, equal to each other and the audience.

The discussion quickly became relatable for everyone. The supply chain was no longer just a concept, or chain of transactions, or a “thing” or “system” to be managed. It was visibly transformed through these leaders as they interacted with each other on the panel and with the audience about their lives and the impact of their leadership within their own spheres.

Suffice it to say, it was not surprising to find they all shared certain core values. One of those shared values was a focus on people, including their staff, customers, vendors and consumers.

The pandemic unquestionably was greatly responsible for negatively affecting businesses throughout our industry and globally. It also accelerated the need for alternative solutions.

However, Covid-19 surely accentuated the need for greater awareness of and connection with the people we serve and lead. Let us commit to modeling what these leaders authentically shared on that stage, always being mindful of the value of people in our lives and businesses, and how we show up to serve and lead them—not just in times of challenge, but always.

Heather Fairman is CEO of DF Guardian Consulting Inc. and has over 30 years of executive leadership and management experience in regulatory affairs, quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) lab environments in the dietary supplement, functional food, biologic, over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Fairman is a sought-after independent consultant and go-to speaker, a transformational thought leader, writer, educator and trainer. She can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Heather Fairman

Founder & CEO, DF Guardian Consulting Inc., DF Guardian Consulting Inc.

Founder and CEO of DF Guardian Consulting, Heather Fairman is a skilled science and executive professional with over 30 years’ executive leadership and management experience with highly effective results in regulatory affairs, QA/QC environments in the dietary supplement, food supplement, supply chain segment, biologics, OTC pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.  She is a sought-after independent consultant, transformational thought-leader, writer and certified speaker and trainer, who also serves as the key technical advisor responsible for leading the development of raw materials for the herbal supply-chain market for the SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network (IWON), an intergovernmental organization which has all the rights and privileges of a United Nations organization comprised of 32 countries. Fairman has assisted and led companies through numerous FDA audits; assisted with FDA 483 responses; averted recalls and warning letters; and established effective quality management systems, sustainable compliance and regulatory infrastructure, and organizational programs that have fostered and established mutually beneficial contract manufacturer partnerships. Connect with or contact her via LinkedIn

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