The COVID-19 pandemic had posed notable challenges for supply chains globally. Multiple national lockdowns continue to slow or even temporarily stop the flow of raw materials and finished goods, disrupting manufacturing as a result. However, the pandemic has not necessarily created any new challenges for supply chains. In some areas, it brought to light previously unseen vulnerabilities, and of course, many organizations have suffered staff shortages and losses due to COVID-19.
Often in uncertain economic environments, companies slow their technology investments to a trickle. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, 92% did not halt technology investments. This speaks to the value of a digital supply chain in helping enterprises navigate disruptive forces and respond faster to volatile supply and demand.
The executive supply chain survey indicates that efficiency and reskilling supply chain workers will be top priorities in the next three years. These findings are not surprising as cost-optimization in the supply chain will always be a focus, even in the face of building out additional resiliency.
A new supply chain model
A decades-long focus on supply chain optimization to minimize costs, reduce inventories, and drive up asset utilization has removed buffers and flexibility to absorb disruptions and COVID-19 illustrates that many companies are not fully aware of the vulnerability of their supply chain relationships to global shocks.
Fortunately, new supply chain technologies are emerging that dramatically improve visibility across the end-to-end supply chain, and support companies’ ability to resist such shocks. Leveraging advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics, and 5G, DSNs are designed to anticipate and meet future challenges. Whether it is a “black swan” event like COVID-19, trade war, the act of war or terrorism, regulatory change, labor dispute, sudden spikes in demand, organizations that deploy DSNs will be ready to deal with the unexpected.