Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people probably didn’t know the term “supply chain” – despite the fact that it’s been in use for decades.
Social distancing caused most people to rely more on online retailers, which consequently led to more shipment tracking, learning about where products come from and overall supply chain awareness. The massive glut of e-commerce shipments has also caused more delays than usual.
Certainly, the global pandemic has laid many vulnerabilities in the typical supply chain and the cost-driven models that many companies were overly reliant upon. While the industry has been put in a pressure cooker over the past few months and breakdowns have happened, it doesn’t necessarily mean scrapping the entire supply chain model. Supply chain managers ought to be asking if they currently have the proper balance between international and domestic suppliers, emphasis on cost and degree of transparency.
In all likelihood, the pandemic will accelerate the need for more digitization in the supply chain. When there’s an interruption in the supply chain, even businesses with a very optimized system must still depend on other areas of the chain to do their bit. Technically optimized businesses should be able to see upstream in their supply chains. Thanks to technology, there’s more transparency and information than ever, and these attributes are expected to be even more critical going forward.
Effects on Hiring
When the pandemic hit, product pipelines were rattled within hours. Fortunately, many businesses still had significant capital, services to provide products to sell and stock inventories. Also, consumer demand never went away and even increased for many products – like toilet paper.
COVID has brought a great deal of uncertainty, and it’s more vital than ever to make and deliver products as efficiently as possible, as a company’s brand and revenue are at stake. People are used to conveniently buying and receiving products, and that’s harder in the middle of a global pandemic.
The pandemic has also increased the pressure to bring in people with skills that were already in demand. For instance, there had already been a high demand for people with skills and experience related to blockchain. Supply chain companies are increasingly adopting blockchain technology and migrating to an all-digital approach.
To address this and other skills gaps, mid-sized companies have been aggressively recruiting people with experience at large supply chain operations. Those with extensive blockchain experience at these large companies could walk into a mid-sized or small operation and then apply digital technology in proven ways.
Also, due to the impacts of digitization, there will be more individuals that can do their job remotely, including supply chain managers. Certainly, those in management have to be close to their employees, but handling some aspect of management remotely is becoming more accepted, particularly in some more traditional company cultures. Remote working lets businesses be more efficient without the overhead of having people on-location.