Supply Chain Council of European Union |

New normal giving rise to new supply chain solutions

The pandemic started taking shape in December 2019 and by March 2020 we were still clueless of what has hit us. This lockdown took us all many steps behind from all aspects.

New normal giving rise to new supply chain solutions

But well, past is not important, present is. So there must be some valuable lessons we learn from this outbreak. Everyone spoke about the new normal coming into being and some quick changes were adapted by the stakeholders in every field and walks of life. The new normal did definitely give birth to new solutions and one of them for the Management was to drop the lean strategies and vulnerability that came from increasing short term profits. The SCM will now need to stress-test the chains on new performance measures including resilience, responsiveness and configurability.

Home delivery supply chains quickly gathered their acts together and complied with the changed scenario and government norms of following the delivery protocols. Every entity engaged in running supply chains would need to go through severe compliances as worker, product, transport and facility sanitization protocols would have to be in place. This would not only increase management but also insurance costs.

Due to social distancing and lockdown restrictions, companies have to operate with a limited number of workers.

Manpower: We had to make sure that every time the door was opened on us, there was a smart, enterprising and neatly dressed delivery person standing there, may be wearing a PPE kit and handing over the contact less delivery. With millions of migrant workers back home or under lockdown, supply chain and other retail businesses are struggling to deploy even 20 percent of the required labour force. But this was also overcome somehow and the show moved on.

Hygiene: With hygiene becoming the helm of every business’s operations, upon which industries are being judged today, the country’s supply chain management needed to put in that extra effort and time in maintaining the sanitation process during transportation and delivery of products.

Safety Measures: New normal is coming into play for every sector and in no time we will all became used to:

– Undertaking contactless delivery and pick-up
– No ringing of doorbells
– Placing the packages at a handover point the customer is comfortable with
– Adopting digital payments for contactless transactions

There is no doubt that with the massive changes in supply chains, digital transformation of the industry will be hastened. It has become even more important to have a digital presence, more than ever, to ensure access of order and choice to one and all. Not being able to step out of homes also gave rise to more and more online orders and almost everyone got a taste of the digital world. Now that they have, it will be difficult to drop this ease and comfort of having essentials delivered at your doorsteps.

It’s not just some business changes, the new “operating under the pandemic” situation has also stirred some thoughts, where all of a sudden, we noticed how happy the nature was, without our interference and how the environment was responding to some happy changes. It gave us a moment to stop and ponder over and a lot of us also became more conscious about the conservation of natural resources as well. Like water was anyway going to be the next topic of concern, had this pandemic not taken place. But even now, the water crisis stares at us in the face. According to a study by NGT, 70 percent of the water is wasted in the purification process by the ROs installed. If one can be mindful about this alone, a lot of water can be saved. As it is ROs only look after the TDS of the water and not the pH balance. If one were to look at the cost of subscribing to packaged drinking water on a monthly basis or based on the consumption, it is an equivalent amount or may be a 40 bucks extra per month that one would end up spending. Plus the plastic recycling and sanitization and reusability is also taken care of.

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