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Supply Chain Resiliency in the Ongoing COVID Crisis

While nearly all facets of society have been impacted by COVID, the global supply chain has been particularly hit hard. The supply chain’s lack of resiliency quickly became prevalent as corporations and governments from across the world scrambled to fix the myriad of issues that COVID brought with it.

As concerned parties seek ways to rebuild their supply chains, resiliency takes center stage. Today, we’ll discuss some of the primary strategies used to establish supply chain resiliency.

But first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page by answering a fundamental question:

What is Supply Chain Resiliency?

In theory, a resilient supply chain is capable of enduring or outmaneuvering hardships that could impact the supply chain’s healthy and smooth operation. Threats to supply chains vary, including shifts in consumer behaviors, trade wars, and pandemics. So, a resilient supply chain is one that can shrug off the unexpected while continuing as if nothing happened.

The global supply chain and the millions of regional and local supply chains that connect to it proved to be quite weak in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the complications that came in tow. However, the fact that our supply chains didn’t crumble entirely proves that some modicum of resiliency was already present.

Today, supply chains across the globe are looking to improve their resiliency, adaptability, and dependability. The primary methods likely to accomplish enhanced supply chain resiliency are capacity buffers, manufacturing diversity, and process innovation.

Inventory and Capacity Buffers

While the concept of just-in-time (JIT) supply chain management – where everything is right where it needs to be at the exact moment it’s needed – is a wonderful notion, it doesn’t provide much adaptability for overcoming the unexpected. This proved itself to be the case when store shelves emptied themselves, spurring on the infamous panic buying witnessed sporadically throughout the pandemic.

Increased capacity buffers provide more insulation against disruptions causing delays, but storage space and excess emergency stock don’t come cheaply. Despite this, it’s expected that many organizations will look to edge a little further away from the JIT mindset by beefing up on overstock.

Manufacturing Diversity

Another method that is likely to see a lot of global use is the diversification of suppliers and manufacturers. Organizations are seeking to diversify their manufacturer networks specifically by sourcing more local and regional organizations—shuffling everybody into a slightly more nationalistic approach.

Of course, nations will still need to work with one another to ensure they have continued access to the massive variety of goods and services the modern age has come to expect. In pursuit of enhanced resiliency, many actors on the global trade stage will likely look to hedge further away from their current dependency on China’s trade engine due, in part, to COVID and US-China trade war complications.

Process Innovation

Put simply, global supply chain links are in need of improvements and innovation. As organizations make the numerous adjustments necessary to improve their resiliency, they will have plenty of opportunities to make other changes to their own processes and facilities along the way.

For example, organizations will employ technology improvements like automation and machine learning or other scientific breakthroughs to bolster their operations and improve their bottom line.

As the world continues to recover and adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, more changes are on the horizon for the global supply chain and the world at large. But, regardless of what might be coming our way next, ClearFreight is committed to helping you take on the complex world of global logistics. Contact us today to learn how our customizable supply chain solutions can help make logistics easier for you.

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