Missouri Partnership CEO, Subash Alias, recently wrote an article for ManufacturingTomorrow on “The Future of Supply Chains Post-Pandemic.” Find the full article here.
When COVID-19 hit, it revealed how fragile modern supply chains really are. Notably, it led to unprecedented consumption shock across the U.S. Who could forget the rush for masks, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper? And that was just within the first month. Throughout 2020, supply and demand rode the waves of panic buying.
COVID-19 also threw longstanding problems with foreign manufacturing into focus. For years, China was the go-to country for cost-effective manufacturing. However, when Chinese factories closed during the initial lockdown — and other countries quickly followed suit — pandemonium ensued. Undoubtedly, the breakdown of continent-sprawling medical supply chains caused the shortage of personal protective equipment (90% of which has been produced abroad since the ’90s).
Healthcare wasn’t the only industry impacted by supply chain disruptions. Shutdowns of global manufacturing capacity dealt a blow to the auto industry. Even after factories and showrooms reopened, monthslong delays for deliveries of raw materials, parts, and finished products slashed companies’ bottom lines. And because Americans are spending less on services and more on tangible goods, the U.S. is seeing massive traffic jams at major ports. In the San Francisco Bay, for example, cargo ships wait days to drop off their loads, containers accumulate at dockyards, and semis and trains can’t get everything out fast enough.
If all of this sounds chaotic, it’s because it is. But that should embolden manufacturing companies to reassess their supply chain strategy. After all, chaos breeds opportunity.