What can we Learn from the COVID-19 Pandemic and Supply Chains?

For months, governments all over the globe have battled trying to find the correct trade response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By mid-March, travel barriers were placed worldwide and over 50 countries were restricting the export of specific medical supplies. This meant that many supply chain workers were unable to operate effectively. The pandemic showed all of us how intertwined our transportation and distributions systems are, and how many social and economic, impacts result from disruptions in supply chains.

It is estimated that by early March, five per cent of U.S. organizations had seen supply chain disruptions; a study also showed that by mid-March, the world’s largest 1,000 companies had more than 12,000 facilities under quarantine – just in China, Italy and South Korea alone. As the virus expands, those disruptions become larger and more difficult to control.

After dealing with countless disruptions, there is only one question that businesses in the trade industry can ask: what can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, and how can we make our supply chains stronger?

Digital Transformation is Essential

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fact that many logistics and manufacturing processes are still manual. This has forced many manufacturers, logistics, and shipping companies to invest in digital transformation. It is crucial for supply chain management processes to be automated, so companies can virtually plan and optimize warehousing and supply transportation procedures.

Decarbonization Benefits

At a time when the whole world had to come to a stop, we were able to see the shocking amount of transportation-related emissions that were once invisible to us. Supply chain disruptions also highlighted global sourcing for components that comprise consumer goods. Although it may be economically cheap to transport items all over the world, this has cost our environment greatly. It is important that, moving forward, supply chains become more environmentally friendly.

Maintain Larger Inventory

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, it is very important that companies build up inventory in order to avoid supply chain disruptions. When balancing the inventory needs of a business, organizations often adopt a lean strategy to minimize the possibility of a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how fragile our economy truly is and how important it is for supply chain managers to always prepare for the unexpected.

2020 has taught us many lessons, especially when it comes to supply chain management. However, those lessons can also ensure that we take the correct precaution measures in the future. At Thompson Ahern, we are ready to assist you and your business to ensure you can get through turbulent times. Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@taco.ca for more information.

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