The future of supply chain: An exclusive interview with Adebayo Adeleke


This interview first appeared on Business Insider

Adebayo Adeleke is a renowned supply chain, geopolitics, and leadership expert. He has profound knowledge and expertise in the fields of Emerging markets, Risk Management and Security, Supply Chain Management and Logistics, Leadership and Geopolitics, Diversity, and Inclusion. Adebayo is also a seasoned combat veteran of the United States Army with 20 years of service.

Currently, he serves as the president and CEO of Adebayo Adeleke LLC (AA LLC). The organization provides advisory and training services in supply chain management, governmental services, and leadership. He also serves as the president and CEO of Supply Chain Africa (SCA) – a digital platform advancing African supply chains and enabling life and business on the African continent.

BI Africa: Kindly brief us about Supply Chain Africa, its specialization, and the services that your company offers.

Adeleke: Supply Chain Africa is a digital platform highlighting the peculiarities and uniqueness of the African supply chain. Supply Chain Africa initially set out to tell stories of different supply chains within the context of Africa. We wanted Africans to know themselves and what is within their borders and for stakeholders coming to do business in Africa to understand the business and supply chain terrain.

Now, we’re redefining ourselves as the supply chain data bank for Africa. We are a digital supply chain intelligence platform providing data bank services for supply chains in Africa and telling the story of African supply chains to the world.

We offer consulting services and supply chain data services. We also offer advertising services- our magazine, newsletter, and website have opportunities for custom digital banner ads.

BI Africa: How is Supply Chain Africa revolutionizing supply chain management and creating operational efficiency?

Adeleke: We are revolutionizing supply chain management through our different pillars. Each pillar spotlights an aspect of supply chain management and delivers solutions.

The first is the publishing pillar focusing on the Supply Chain Africa magazine, our Newsletter, Trend Reports, and Infographics. We’re also exploring proprietary articles and podcasts under this pillar. Through these, we tell the story of Africa’s supply chain.

Our community makes up the second pillar of Supply Chain Africa, and this community is known as The Supply Chain Digital Network. In the community, supply chain professionals on the continent share ideas, knowledge, and information on what is happening in Africa and the world. We are also professionalizing supply chains by developing curriculums for supply chain professionals in academia and the industry.

The consultancy pillar is where Supply Chain Africa introduces cultural awareness to supply chain on the continent. We bring perspectives to different supply chains as we see them across different geopolitical zones on the continent.

The last pillar is data and intelligence. We aggregate supply chain data across the continent and build them into one interface where everyone can search for anything that has to do with supply chain intelligence on the continent.

BI Africa: Who are your clients, and how has the market responded to your services?

Adeleke: Our clients are supply chain professionals and business owners on and outside the continent doing business in Africa.

Our clients also include governmental organizations looking to craft policies that enhance procurement, supply chain, and logistics infrastructure.

So far, the market has responded favourably to our offerings. We are the first and currently the only one-stop shop for the African supply chain. We are sharing knowledge and mentoring supply chain professionals in diverse communities.

BI Africa: Supply chain issues globally have become the new norm. What gives your company the competitive edge?

Adeleke: Thank you for this question. Our competitive edge is our ability to see what’s happening in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the Sub-Sahara, analyse the data from all facets, publish, and drive intelligence so appropriate stakeholders can make executive decisions that aid the continent.

BI Africa: What kind of collaboration do you expect and need for Supply Chain Africa to succeed?

Adeleke: We require collaboration across the board, and we need influencers across different industries and business owners in and outside Africa. We are also open to collaborating with supply chain intelligence or data owners across the continent to provide a one-stop shop for our client’s data needs.

We are open to partnering with small, medium, and large organizations that want to advertise or spotlight their offerings.

We want to work with innovators, tell their stories and collaborate with women-owned and minority-owned businesses in Africa to highlight their impact on the continent and what they’re doing to increase African revenue across boards.

BI Africa: How has Business and Supply Chain changed throughout your career?

Adeleke: It has changed drastically. I’ve been in this business for 25 years, and the supply chain has changed from being the smart kid at the back of a room to one where everyone understands its impact on businesses.

Supply chain is no longer a footnote in national security initiatives. It is now a vital objective. In the not-too-distant future, supply chain will be a new frontier of competition, and whoever’s infrastructure can push this competition will lead the charge.

BI Africa: What challenges facing the world are important to you?

Adeleke: There are so many challenges in the world, but understanding risk takes precedence for me. Many organizations and business owners don’t understand risk enough. Even after what happened during the pandemic, a lot of organizations are still not making supply chain priority.

Apart from risk, the issue of sustainability and climate change is real, and we don’t do enough to curb it. I know the government has committed so much effort to it, but what are these efforts translating into?

We have other issues that are very important to me. Human trafficking and human rights are one of them. It is concerning the illicit way some of the goods and services we consume get to us.

Corruption is another challenge, and this is crucial because it inhibits trade and a progressive supply chain.

BI Africa: What is the role of Supply Chain Africa in addressing these challenges?

Adeleke: In addressing these challenges, Supply Chain Africa tells African supply chain stories. We highlight the successes, failures, opportunities, uniqueness, and polarities of the environment we operate. Our stories have been marginalized over time, and Supply Chain Africa is telling them right.

Our infrastructures might not be mature, and the security that supports the movement of goods and services is lacking, but that doesn’t mean supply chain doesn’t happen in Africa.

We also work with different African leaders to formulate sustainable and climate-friendly policies. We won’t just talk about climate change; we are partnering with leaders to make a difference.

BI Africa: Who should contact you and why?

Adeleke: Our key target markets are businesses, government organizations, NGOs, and supply chain professionals on the continent and off the continent.

It is essential to work with us because if you leap into business or supply chain in Africa without having proper knowledge, you will make expensive mistakes.

As experts, we give guidance and provide the necessary connections and contacts.

BI Africa: What advice would you give to people who have a career in, or are considering joining, Business and/or Supply Chain?

Adeleke: Do it. That’s the advice I have for you. It is the best job ever. I am biased because I’ve been doing it for some time, but supply chain is life.

It is the only business that has evolved tremendously. From the pyramids in Egypt until now, the functions of supply chain professionals have remained the same. It is the only job that has never gone away, and with technological advancements, it will continue to be redefined.

Prospective partners, collaborators, sponsors, our target audience and the general public, can connect with us on social media; Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or on our website.

Interview conducted by Business Insider