Much like the rest of the global economy, the supply chain and logistics industry was certainly thrown for a loop by the novel coronavirus pandemic that has been affecting at least some parts of the world for months, and with no end in sight. The question many experts in the sector may have is how long it will take for the supply chain as a whole to fully get back to its previous capacity.
It’s worth cautioning that, in some ways, the pandemic has changed the game for everyone in the supply chain permanently, because even if things do go back to exactly how they were before — an unlikely scenario to say the least — there will be more fallback plans and emergency scenarios in place. Nonetheless, a recent survey found that about 1 in 3 supply chain professionals in North America say that they think it will take between six and 12 months, according to IndustryWeek. Another 20% said it would take at least 12 months to as much as two years.
That survey was conducted in August and September, so more than half the industry sees the supply chain getting back to normal as soon as January 2021, or as far out as September 2022, the report said. In the meantime, issues related to manufacturing delays, shortages of materials and logistics snafus will all continue to persist on some level or another.
What to do?
Of course, a range of 18 months in which the supply chain could return to something resembling normalcy is fairly broad, and how quickly that happens depends as much on what those within the industry do as it does outside factors, according to McKinsey research. For instance, when businesses do more en masse to create transparency throughout their own supply chains, the entire industry benefits, and the same is true of being more accurate when it comes to keeping tabs on inventory.
There are other aspects of these efforts, such as getting a better handle on demand for their offerings, increasing data security, managing cash flow and so on, the report said. However, it may be important to focus more specifically on your own operations and do what you can to make yourself a better partner, then turn to encouraging others to do the same.
A little planning goes a long way
To achieve those ends, you need to look at every aspect of your operations and do what you can to plan out what the next several months (and beyond) will look like, according to Kinaxis. Everything from plotting out supply and demand projections to looking at your own opportunities to ride the wave of sales you might see over the time should inform your decisions, and put you in the best possible position for success.
A holistic look at your operations should help you uncover aspects that previously went unnoticed, and that could be especially important when it comes to identifying and addressing risk as the supply chain continues to evolve and change post-COVID.