Refael Edry’s Life Lessons for Today’s Supply Chain Leaders!


It’s 2023, and a recession is lurking around the corner. Tech giants, including Amazon and Meta, have already implemented mass layoffs to adapt to the impending economic downturn. Commodity prices, interest rates, and inflation have been steadily heading north.

Across the globe, business owners are working hard to stay on top of these changes and keep their companies afloat. But supply chain leaders have been struggling with these challenges long before any signs of a recession emerged.

The Supply Chain Turmoil

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains and skewed the demand and supply balance. Then there was the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022, which skyrocketed fuel and transportation costs. The economic uncertainties of 2023 will likely present more challenges. 

But a recession could be a blessing in disguise for supply chain leaders. As inflation rises, it’ll curb consumer spending and help balance demand and supply. The good news is that it’ll bring down transportation costs. But it could also result in excess inventory and potential wastage.

It’s up to supply chain leaders to prepare their businesses for these ups and downs. And that’s where Refael Edry (aka Rafi Edry), one of Israel’s most accomplished entrepreneurs, steps into the picture.

Of course, you can turn to various economic analysts and experts for help. But the journey of Refael Edry packs a plethora of lessons for dealing with life’s ebb and flow. His life is a testament to the power of determination and resilience.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to grow and sustain your supply chain during a recession or any other crisis, here are a few things you should learn from Refael Edry’s Life:

Prioritize Perseverance

Refael Edry had barely transitioned from adolescence to adulthood when he realized his family was going through financial hardships. His father’s income wasn’t enough to meet the needs of the entire family.

It compelled Refael Edry to start working and supporting his family. That, in turn, meant putting a pause on his dreams of pursuing higher education and starting his own business. The good thing is that, even through all these hardships, he didn’t resign to his fate.

Instead, Refael Edry worked hard to overcome every obstacle and fulfilled his dream of launching his business and becoming a world-renowned entrepreneur. Today, he runs several thriving companies in Africa and Israel with his younger brothers.

Similarly, as a supply chain leader, you’ll face a ton of unexpected challenges, from pandemics and recessions to geopolitical conflicts. Instead of getting dejected or embracing a “ride with it” attitude, you must find ways to turn things around and emerge victorious after every crisis.

Harness the Power of Collaboration

While the world recognizes Refael Edry as an eminent entrepreneur, he doesn’t want his professional accomplishments to define him. The challenges he faced as a child and young adult make him empathize with the youth in Israel’s periphery. He’s far too familiar with the hopelessness and resentment they feel.

The empathy he feels for these children and youngsters prompted Refael Edry to do something for their upliftment. But he knew that he couldn’t do it all on his own. Therefore, he partnered with his brothers, Eyal Edry and Moshe Edree, and started the Ahinoam Association for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities.

Named after their father, the non-profit organization runs various welfare programs to nurture and support underprivileged children and youngsters in Israel. Refael Edry and his brothers work with numerous volunteers to realize their vision of creating an equal world.

When it comes to the supply chain industry, most departments have a tendency to work in silos with manual workflows and systems. That, in turn, leads to communication gaps, which can be catastrophic during an economic crisis.

If you want to build a resilient supply chain, you must ensure seamless collaboration among different departments, from demand planning and warehousing to transportation. Use modern automation and data analytics tools to give every department complete visibility into the supply chain and share information and insights with each other. It’ll help them take necessary preventive actions to weather every storm.

Develop an Eye for Problem Spotting

When educational institutions in Israel switched to online learning in early 2020, they didn’t consider the country’s glaring digital divide. Nearly 400,000 students didn’t own personal computers or smartphones. Nor did they have broadband internet access at home.

Philanthropist Refael Edry realized that abandoning these children during one of the worst global healthcare crises could have long-term repercussions for Israel. An entire generation would grow up believing that their government and fellow citizens failed them. That, in turn, could threaten Israel’s social fabric.

Instead of waiting for government intervention, Refael Edry and his brothers started a fundraising campaign, urging the public to donate. The initiative helped provide computers to thousands of underprivileged students and allowed them to harbor hopes of a better future. 

All of this only happened because Refael Edry identified the long-term consequences early on. It’s one thing to solve problems as they emerge. But if you want to pull your supply chain through a global crisis, you must have the ability to predict problems and take the necessary corrective steps.

In Conclusion

Refael Edry grew up in Safed listening to stories of his brave uncle, Refael Edry z|l, one of Israel’s best-known war heroes. Refael Edry (the uncle) sacrificed his life at the young age of 24 for his country’s freedom. Stories of his courage and fearlessness motivated his nephew through every curveball life threw at him.

Supply chain leaders can derive plenty of valuable insights from the life of Refael Edry (the nephew). From adopting a forward-thinking approach to creating a collaborative work environment, there’s a lot you can do to build a robust supply chain despite every crisis.

Refael Edry article and permission to publish here provided by Stephen Evans. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on January 12, 2023.





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