The pandemic struck all nations suddenly in early 2020, as many governments simply weren't prepared to handle such a widespread health disaster. Retailers were among the first businesses to close right away in March when public events began getting canceled. Supermarkets had various shortages of products at first partly due to national border closings and restrictions on transportation.
Very quickly many businesses saw revenue dry up and had to fight for survival. Auto production fell 93 percent while over half of small businesses said they might close after a quarter of no revenue. Total worldwide losses from shutdowns are estimated to surpass $5 trillion, making it a bigger fiasco than the 2008 financial crash. Meanwhile, opportunities have increased for local delivery services as part of COVID-19 supply chain solutions.
For the suppliers that stayed in business, supervisors had to ensure workers wore masks and social distancing was being practiced. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations quickly adopted telehealth as a solution for keeping emergency rooms from becoming overcrowded with patients. The use of the phone and other forms of digital communication including video conferencing proved to improve patient care, leading to faster diagnosis and treatment.
New Ways to Deliver Products
The COVID-19 pandemic forced every link in supply chains to rethink their shipping solutions. Online orders surged, putting a strain on traditional delivery services while opening the door for new players to enter the market. Retailers have emphasized online purchasing as well, since it allows customers to place orders quickly instead of waiting in line at a brick-and-mortar store.
Many suppliers for various industries are entering a transformation phase as a result of pandemic challenges. They're increasingly moving toward seamless digital networking that connects members of their supply chains with real-time data. The use of IoT sensors placed in production machines and vehicles is the key to making supply chains more agile in times of disruption.
Data is collected by the sensors, transmitted to headquarters then studied by system analysts. IoT infrastructure allows transportation companies to locate any of their fleet vehicles instantly in real-time. They can also monitor driving speeds and vehicle conditions. The analytics generated from IoT monitoring combined with machine learning can recommend alternate delivery routes for faster arrival times.
Building the Right Team
Manufacturers and suppliers have learned many lessons about sustainability during the pandemic. One of the most important steps for companies to take after developing a seamless IoT infrastructure is to rethink suppliers, then supplement the list of main suppliers with backup resources in case of material or product shortages.
Choosing the right partners in your supply chain will contribute to your company's survival as very few all-in-one manufacturers exist. These days, you must think of the supply chain as both a digital and physical network. The digital part involves order processing, communicating with customers, and tracking the shipments.
It is also worth noting the tremendous impact online reviews have on influencing other consumers and vendors. If something goes wrong with logistics, it could affect customer satisfaction or show up online as a complaint. Working with seasoned IT experts helps prevent logistics errors.
Not only do you need to pick the right suppliers, but you also need to work with competent tech professionals that can oversee your digital transformation. Getting guidance from experienced technicians is often the key to gaining a competitive edge in both the digital and physical worlds. Exploring COVID-19 supply chain solutions will help put your company on the road to sustainability.