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Navigating Supply Chain Risks Post-Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the industry to unforeseen challenges, which has brought forth the need to manage supply chain risks in a better manner.

What’s in this article:

  • Managing risks with complex supply chain pipelines

  • Dealing with labor shortage in the post-pandemic world

  • Understanding risk management lessons learned from the pandemic and the importance of staying aware

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply chain and the world in general. Even though the introduction of vaccines has mitigated health risks across the globe, the supply chain industry continues to grapple with its after-effects. Driver shortage, rising container prices, and port congestion are areas where the industry still feels the post-pandemic effects strongly. But irrespective of the situation, it needs to do all it can to stay afloat till things ease up.

Taking the Complexity of Supply Chain Operations Into Consideration 

As supply chain operations become increasingly complex, the nature of risks continues to evolve with it. Today, anything ranging from political changes to weather conditions affects the way the supply chain pipeline functions. A shortfall in any area, be it manufacturing or shortage of supplies, can wreck entire business functions.

Unforeseen bottlenecks in one link in the chain can cause unpredictable behaviors from suppliers to customers.

Several elements contribute to making supplies available at their endpoint. Hence, unforeseen bottlenecks in one link in the chain can cause unpredictable behaviors from suppliers to customers. It travels like a ripple effect through the entire supply chain pipeline. For instance, a sudden snowstorm can result in not only panic buying on the part of the customer, but it also means that the trucks carrying supplies cannot reach their destination on time, ultimately resulting in a shortage.

Labor Shortage In The Post-Pandemic World

It is such snowballing effects that have resulted in the industry facing a labor shortage problem in the post-pandemic world. Today, the industry faces a major operational crunch due to a lack of people on the line. From the microeconomic perspective, this is one post-pandemic crisis that has affected shippers, carriers, and other major stakeholders alike. Changing working conditions, uncertainties related to health, and the demand for flexibility have collectively resulted in labor shortages in the industry, especially in the last mile.

Strengthening the workforce by restoring their confidence, taking care of people, and fostering an overall well-being environment marks the first step in making people comfortable in joining the workforce once again.

One way to tackle this problem is to focus on fostering a healthy work environment for everybody. From the employer’s standpoint, building a healthy, inviting environment to attract people to come in to work and feel safe is the need of the hour. Moreover, this needs to be thought through not just in terms of salary but also in terms of perks and healthcare. A lot of organizations have committed to providing better mental health resources to people who work for them. Strengthening the workforce by restoring their confidence, taking care of people, and fostering an overall well-being environment marks the first step in making people comfortable in joining the workforce once again.

Navigating the Way Forward 

Labor shortage is just one of the things that can go wrong when the industry faces unforeseen challenges. In reality, the nature of risks continue to evolve. The risk that supply chains face today is different from what they grappled with in the pre-pandemic years. It’s probably going to be something else a decade from now.

The good news is that many of these challenges can be mitigated by planning.

The good news is that many of these challenges can be mitigated by planning. By having backup plans for major operation activities in place, last-minute hassles can be avoided. This  allows stakeholders to deal with logistics challenges more efficiently. It’s important to have loyal business relations, but it also helps to be vigilant and prepare for backups. The pandemic witnessed many businesses going out of operations because they couldn’t operate without their main supply. On the other hand, people with multiple backup plans had alternative means of managing operational logistics challenges that helped them stay afloat.

Awareness is another attribute that can help the industry prepare for managing risks. The need of the hour is to stay aware of the social and economic affairs of the world in general. By staying informed, alternatives can be planned ahead, which saves last-minute hassles.

Logistics challenges are an inevitable part of the supply chain industry. Today, the industry is so interconnected that the impact of a slowdown in one area is felt across all operational divisions. Everybody involved experiences similar challenges. With some foresight and awareness, the supply chain operations can manage risks better and cushion the effects of a blow.