Globally, COVID-19 pushes companies away from the physical and into the technical. The global pandemic has exposed a vulnerability in our supply chains. They’re not ready for sudden transformation.
It’s visible in every company around the globe: None were ready for a crisis. Many companies rely on singular sources and lack flexibility and ‘back-ups’ in their supply chain.
So, when things go wrong, there’s significant chaos. The only thing that will mitigate this chaos is better organisation for future crises. All supply chains need an emergency switch – and it shouldn’t cost companies everything.
The siloed supply chain
IMD predicts that the future of supply chains will involve ‘stress tests’ that ‘assure preparedness for an economic shock.’ In a post-COVID-19 world – a world after the onset of COVID – the stability of the supply chain will be prioritised.
This will mean that ‘supply chain shocks’ will be far more subdued and leave less of a lasting imprint upon supply chains.
Of course, these shocks are multifaceted: both supply and demand are affected by crises. Amidst COVID-19, there was overwhelming demand for certain things, such as masks and hand sanitizer, that supply chains, already fraught, couldn’t keep up with. Preparing our supply chains for the future will mean preparing ourselves better for this supply-demand shock.
How we can get there – and why we should get there soon
The key mover that will help companies stabilise their supply chains is technology. Digitalizing transforms the way we do business. By implementing artificial intelligence, blockchain and automation, companies ensure that they’re reliably tracking, analysing and forecasting with the supply chain data that’s available to them.
The supply chain has long since been hidden from consumer view. When there’s an issue in the supply chain, all consumers see is company incompetence. They don’t, rather, see the parts of the supply chain that have broken down and resulted in a delay in them getting their product.
Technology can ameliorate this problem. Through increased transparency – and enabling consumers to access this transparency – we can help consumers have a better understanding on the supply chain. This will enable improved communication when crises do happen.
It will also provide better transparency and governance, and help consumers to monitor their environmental footprint.
Self-sufficient supply chains
Implementing the use of artificial intelligence and automation also enables us to our supply chain data and forecast issues before they happen. Automation also means that there’s a ‘back up’ when human workers will be at risk. Machines, of course, don’t catch viruses.
The intention is not to replace workers, but rather continue production with minimal risk. Companies won’t be forced to shut down factories. Instead, there will be a much smaller human workforce and a large autonomous one to keep business going. This also applies to autonomous trucking.
Ultimately, supply chains will need to incorporate technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain. This will ensure that they are stable, secure and can sustain themselves when hit by economic crises. Blockhead Technologies has created STAMP Supply, a blockchain-enabled platform that tracks data throughout the entire supply chain.