Carlos Cordon

Professor of Strategy and Supply Chain Management

Carlos Cordon is Professor of Strategy and Supply Chain Management. His areas of expertise are supply chain management, digital, value chains, digital lean, and process management, all of which are particularly relevant topics in the context of the supply chain challenges that businesses face today. His research and teaching are currently focused on the reconfiguration of supply chains in the face of persistent disruptions, how supply chains are driving revenue, reshoring and onshoring, and digital strategies.

Cordon says supply chain constraints have become a driver of extraordinary growth in profits for some companies as a result of availability constraints, increased demand, and higher prices. General Motors sold 20% fewer cars in 2021 than in 2019 as a result of a shortage of microchips, for example, but still managed to record a 48% rise in profits over the same period.

He is the author of numerous articles and case studies in his specialist fields and has won various awards for his work. He was named on The Case Center list of the top 50 best-selling case authors globally in 2020/21 and was a winner in the 2017 EFMD Case Writing Competition with IMD colleagues Benoît Leleux and Beverley Lennox for a case study on Adidas.

He is also the author of four books, including the 2016 title Strategy is Digital, which explores how companies can use big data in their value chains. The book presents strategies and practices to allow companies to take advantage of the huge business opportunities arising from the advent of big data and guides them through their big data journey.

Supply chains are being disrupted but they are also becoming drivers of extraordinary growth. Price increases and availability constraints have enabled some organizations to deliver record profits.

Cordon is a consultant to multinational companies in the electronics, food, chemical, pharmaceutical, and automotive industries, among others. He has designed and directed numerous executive development programs and has helped some of the world’s biggest companies to develop their supply chain and digital strategies, including Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Coca Cola, Merck, Mondelez, Unilever, Heineken, Philip Morris, Danone, and Reckitt Benckiser among others. He is also a member of the Coca-Cola European Partners’ Digital Advisory Board.

He joined IMD in 1993 after completing a PhD in management at INSEAD. He was previously a manager in Accenture’s manufacturing and distribution consulting group and MIS Manager at Grupo General Cable in Spain (now part of the Prysmian group).

Selected publications
Article
Why sustainability targets are close to mission impossible
Influencing suppliers, complying with regulations and sourcing raw materials has become a bureaucratic and logistical nightmare for chief operating officers.
Published 25 November 2021
Article
Re-use or recycle? Designing a business model for the circular economy
Reuse can transform industries that struggle to recycle products, but it can also impact on the viability of the recycling industry. Before designing a circular economy strategy, companies must dec...
Published 21 April 2021
Article
Physical stores' surprising comeback in the pandemic
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, while most physical retailers were scrambling to avoid bankruptcy, remarkably, one company recorded its best performance ever and a few others returned to pos...
Published 2 February 2021
Case Study
The antibiotic ecosystem conundrum
The invention of antibiotics increased the average lifespan by two decades, though WHO warns that antibiotic resistant will become the most common death by 2050 if the resistance issue cannot be ov...
Published 31 December 2020
Book
Strategy is digital: How companies can use big data in the value chain
This book presents strategies and practices to allow everyday companies to cope with the fundamentally changing landscape of business models and to take advantage of the huge business opportunities...
Published 22 June 2016
Book
The value chain shift: Seven future challenges facing top executives
Value chains today have a huge impact on multinational corporations’ right to exist and the way they compete. The future challenges associated with value chains are also huge and include new demand...
Published 1 January 2014
Book
Strategic supply chain management
The supply chain is at the heart of every successful business organization's decision-making process. This textbook explains how to create a winning supply chain management strategy by spotlighting...
Published 30 April 2012
Book
The power of two: How smart companies create win-win customer-supplier partnerships that outperform the competition
This book presents the best way for your company to increase its competitive advantage. By forming close collaborative relationships with a small set of customers and/or suppliers you can achieve a...
Published 9 June 2008
Academic publications
Article
Digitization of healthcare organizations: The digital health landscape and information theory
This paper builds on an integrated framework of digital opportunities, based on information theory that was initially proposed by Claude Shannon: 1) providers of infrastructure for transmitting inf...
Published 1 April 2019
Article
Quality defaults and work-in-process inventory
The interactions between quality defaults and work-in-process (WIP) inventory are analyzed. A model is presented where defects produced in one station can only be detected at the next station. In t...
Published 1 January 1995
Insight for Executives
Integrate or Partner?: An M&A Analysis from the Acquiree's Point of View
Case Study
Integrate or Partner?: An M&A Analysis from the Acquiree's Point of View
Avaloq, headquartered in Switzerland, is a market leader in global digital banking. It was acquired by the leading Japanese IT conglomerate NEC Corporation at the end of 2020, despite COVID-19 pand...
Published 8 February 2022
How COVID-19 vaccines turned the pharmaceutical supply chain into the ultimate gamble
Article
How COVID-19 vaccines turned the pharmaceutical supply chain into the ultimate gamble
“In light of the pandemic, we must design new supply chains to better meet the needs of society,” says IMD supply chain expert.
Published 1 March 2021
Why omnichannel will define retail in 2021: the surprising comeback of the physical store
Article
Why omnichannel will define retail in 2021: the surprising comeback of the physical store
The pandemic has created winners and losers in retail, with companies already equipped for an “omnichannel” experience coming out on top. In 2021, retailers that excel in finding their optimal omni...
Published 20 January 2021
Turn the marathon into sprints – how to save the Olympic Games
Article
Turn the marathon into sprints – how to save the Olympic Games
The organisers of global sporting events are obsessed with delivering massive, money-spinning extravaganzas that few hosts can afford. This unsustainable marathon model has to stop. Short-term spri...
Published 13 January 2021
The Antibiotic Ecosystem Conundrum
Case Study
The Antibiotic Ecosystem Conundrum
The invention of antibiotics increased the average lifespan by two decades, WHO warns that antibiotic resistant will become the most common death by 2050
Published 31 December 2020
Business supply chain strategies are evolving, can poor countries benefit?
Article
Business supply chain strategies are evolving, can poor countries benefit?
Multiple sourcing and proximity sourcing are taking shape as long-term trends as global firms hardwire resilience and agility into their supply chains. Less developed countries face considerable ri...
Published 7 October 2020
Digitize supply chains but don't expect a universal approach
Article
Digitize supply chains but don't expect a universal approach
Building agility and flexibility into your supply chain through digitization is key for the future but, be warned, there is no single roadmap to success.
Published 23 July 2020
PMI: Disrupting the tobacco industry
Case Study
PMI: Disrupting the tobacco industry
With its mission to “unsmoke the world” and its bold new purpose to replace cigarettes with less harmful tobacco products, Philip Morris International (PMI) was revolutionizing every part of its ex...
Published 18 June 2020
Adecco: Project management masterclass (A)
Case Study
Adecco: Project management masterclass (A)
At the outset, the A case appears like a typical IT project at Adecco, the leading HR solutions company. At the end of 2017, a new IT infrastructure service provider had been selected. Adecco’s IT ...
Published 13 May 2020
Adecco: Project management masterclass (B)
Case Study
Adecco: Project management masterclass (B)
The B case starts in June 2019 – at the project deadline – and looks back at the challenges and actions taken during the previous 18 months. The outgoing provider did not make it easy for Adecco, a...
Published 13 May 2020
A post COVID-19 outlook: the future of the supply chain
Article
A post COVID-19 outlook: the future of the supply chain
Coronavirus wreaks economic turmoil around the world, modern supply chains face un-precedented stress and are drawing an increased level of scrutiny.
Published 4 May 2020
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: The strain of COVID-19
Video
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: The strain of COVID-19
Keeping supply chains moving
Published 26 March 2020
Amazon: The trillion dollar company coming to the Swiss alps
Case Study
Amazon: The trillion dollar company coming to the Swiss alps
The case describes two major dilemmas for Amazon’s expansion in Europe. First dilemma is about options to expand: Sweden has a sizeable and mature market, but Amazon is already #1 retailer through ...
Published 13 August 2019
Faurecia digital transformation (B)
Case Study
Faurecia digital transformation (B)
The case describes the various industry 4.0 options which were available to Faurecia for digital transformation and finally illustrate the process of successful implementation of the digital transf...
Published 12 May 2019
Faurecia digital transformation (C)
Case Study
Faurecia digital transformation (C)
The case covers real time experiences of the people involved in digital transformation, capture the lessons learned and explain how Faurecia was able to transform its plant into a culture of innova...
Published 12 May 2019
Faurecia digital transformation (A)
Case Study
Faurecia digital transformation (A)
The case is based on a dynamic real-life story. In this case we have examined how Faurecia decorative division has used digital tools and technology, both hardware and software, to first modernize ...
Published 12 May 2019
Is blockchain all hype? A financier and supply chain expert discuss
Article
Is blockchain all hype? A financier and supply chain expert discuss
Blockchain is a technology with two ingredients: the first is a distributed ledger, meaning a database with identical copies held by everyone in a network. There is no intermediary, no central data...
Published 8 February 2019
When digital meets lean: Digital transformation at PFA
Case Study
When digital meets lean: Digital transformation at PFA
PFA a leading Danish insurance and pension company administrating pension funds for approximately 75 billion Euro and having more than 1,1 Million customers has over that past years started a huge ...
Published 30 December 2018
Mary Barra and the Lyft Investment: Leading GM into the sharing economy through
Case Study
Mary Barra and the Lyft Investment: Leading GM into the sharing economy through
The case presents the impact of the digital disruption coming from the sharing economy from the perspective of the largest American auto manufacturer, General Motors (GM). 
The car-sharing business...
Published 29 November 2018
Growth dilemmas: Amazon or Alibaba in India
Case Study
Growth dilemmas: Amazon or Alibaba in India
This case highlights the differences in the business models of Amazon and Alibaba, respectively. Readers need to analyze the characteristics of India with respect to culture, wealth and income dist...
Published 18 November 2018
Article
Adidas Russia/CIS and the Russian Crisis: Retrentch or double down
This case is based on extensive semi-structured interviews with key adidas Russia/CIS executives who were in charge of implementing the radical IT, supply chain and omnichannel initiatives that tra...
Published 8 September 2017
Article
LEGO: Consolidating distribution (Abridged)
The unabridged versions of these cases won the 2011 ecch Case Award in the category Production and Operations Mangement, and the Supply Chain Management Award in the 2009 EFMD Case Writing Competit...
Published 1 January 2013
Article
Hewlett-Packard: Creating a virtual supply chain (A) (Abridged)
This case provides a launching point for discussion of several interesting issues in the area of outsourcing and supply chain management including a one-off outsourcing decision-making situation, h...
Published 1 January 2004
Article
ChemUnity.com
This case study presents a rather special example of B2B - one that allows an appreciation of the subtle differences that need to be considered in understanding the new world of business through th...
Published 1 January 2002
How companies can use big data in the value chain
Strategy is Digital
Programs
On campus
Digital Supply Chain Management

Get maximum value from your supply chain

Develop a digital supply chain management strategy that embeds the right technologies for your business.

Location: Lausanne Length: 5 days Fee: CHF 9,900 Next start: 7 November 2022