Supply chain news often entails COVID-19 for a reason.

The pandemic plunged nearly every industry into crisis with goods production and supply chains in particular were disrupted as various supply chain news sites were reporting almost daily. How will industries recover and alter their supply chains moving forward?

Supply Chain Management Warehouse

Just months ago, grocery store shelves were left bare and essential healthcare workers were forced to wear garbage bags due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). In other parts of the world, a surplus of milk and eggs. Industries saw the supply chain shift like never before.

 Goods production stalled. Supply chains were crippled. The virus was fast-spreading and unforeseen; there was only so much even the best logistics experts in the world could do. As a global society we have to take this supply chain news and learn from it because if we don’t, the cycle could repeat itself. It’s imperative that we do as top health experts predict the virus could reemerge in varying waves across the continent for the foreseeable future. We have to find a solution, and soon. 

Striking a Balance

This pandemic has brought disruption to nearly every business. From technology to healthcare and consumer goods, it will take a collaboration like no other to make sure we are prepared for the future. The bottom line is, we must collaborate to invest in future-ready capabilities. This will allow for resilient reactions to the unexpected. Also, striking a better balance between globalized and localized manufacturing. Industries will have to turn to digital manufacturing to fill in the gaps when and where they arise. Our supply chains must be reinvented to make them more resilient and human.

We all remember when toilet paper was flying off the sleeves and PPE could not be supplied to healthcare workers fast enough, we learned a hard but crucial lesson. Our “just-in-time” supply chains were built for efficiency, not resiliency. Was our supply chain the true culprit of the shortage?

Moving forward we must strike a balance between globalized and just-in-time manufacturing. While there are many benefits to globalized supply chains including greater variety, wider access to consumers, and lower costs. It is crucial we find the in between of surplus and lean manufacturing.

Because when the pandemic and chaos struck, suppliers were unable to fix the issue on the spot. A survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Chain Management reveled how widespread COVID related supply chain disruptions were. North America was operating at 74% of normal capacity. It was reported, 97% of all organizations said they had been affected by Covid-19 supply chain disruptions. As you can see this was a global impact that no industry or company was safe from.

The Solution

We live in a complex and fast paced world. No one can predict the next global crisis or natural disaster but we can be prepared. Moving forward, we can use innovative technologies, in both public and private sectors. This will work as a stopgap measure to fill manufacturing demand on the spot.