Following the COVID19 pandemic outbreak, most enterprises around the world are witnessing the consequences of global supply chain disruptions. From cars to white appliances, many products are less readily available. Hence, consumers must wait for significant amounts of time prior to getting and using the products that they order. The situation is particularly challenging in specific sectors like the high-tech industry which is facing a major shortage of chips. This shortage is affecting the production of high-tech products worldwide, ranging from computers and laptops to modern automotive vehicles. Experts predict that this disruption could last up to two more years, which means that it will take significant time prior to returning to a production normality.
This major supply-chain disruption is largely due to the COVID19 pandemic and its consequences in areas like employment and availability of equipment. To cut a long story short, COVID19 has disrupted the operation of conventional supply chains, while challenging the production capacity of many manufacturers. At the same time, the industry is witnessing shortages in manufacturing workers, equipment, and warehouse space, which makes the effects of the original disruptions much worse. Specifically, as soon as lockdowns were waived, manufacturers were faced with a booming demand. The latter cannot be fulfilled given pre-existing disruptions, inadequate numbers of employees and limited warehouse space that leads to inventory shortages. By and large, despite the gradual lifting of COVID19 measures, manufacturers are having hard times to recover the operations of their supply chains. In this context, supply chain stakeholders are looking into novel and effective approaches for coping with large scale disruptions. Such approaches are important not only for coping with the implications of COVID19, but also for preparing for future disruptions.
This time supply chain disruptions were caused due to a large-scale healthcare crisis. Nevertheless, there are many other factors that can cause significant disruptions to global supply chains, including:
In this context, one cannot rule out future disruptions in the global supply chain. Rather than addressing these disruptions after they occur (i.e., in a reactive fashion), manufacturers and other supply chain stakeholders had better invest in their preparedness to cope with them. In this direction, supply chain actors can benefit from best practices and lessons learnt during the COVID19 pandemic.
During the COVID19 period, many manufacturing enterprises and other supply chain actors developed effective, agile, and fast responses to supply chain disruptions. To this end, they employed one or more of the following measures:
Overall, the COVID19 pandemic highlighted the importance of novel, agile and responsive methods for supply chain management, supply chain logistics, and logistics management. It also indicated novel ways for supply chain integration with business continuity practices. Building on these best practices, organizations can develop their effective response to future supply chain disruptions.
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