COVID-19 has caused many companies to restructure, rethink and reform their supply chains. This is due to the way the pandemic has disrupted the traditional supply chain, which relies on global travel and open borders.
In addition, the impact of China, the ‘world’s factory’, facing mass initial shutdowns and COVID cases, resulted in slowing of global supply chains. As a whole, global supply chains were heavily impacted by the pandemic and faced extreme stress.
The impact of the pandemic of the global supply chain
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the supply chain in various ways, including:
- Closures of factories
- Inability to travel between certain borders or very slow movement of assets
- Effect of employees getting sick from COVID-19
- Issues related to isolation and social distancing measures
While we have begun to move past some of these – many factories are functioning in some capacity and borders are becoming more relaxed – there are still many lingering consequences and restrictions. Some countries don’t see easy international travel until next year.
As we feel the weight of the COVID pandemic, we must encourage digital transformation and restructuring within our supply chains.
How can we transform to meet these changes?
On a superficial level, we will need:
- Less workplace presence and reliance on people presence
- More digitalization in our supply chains
- Increased supply chain security and flexibility
- Better global supply chain planning
It’s clear that these changes largely come down to one thing: digitalization, or what Deloitte call ‘DSNs’. DSNs are digital supply chain networks that connect supply chain vendors to enable ‘visibility, collaboration, agility and optimization.’
Moving towards DSNs will mean a reduced reliance on ‘people presence’ – or the necessity of people to actually be present in the workplace to do their jobs. For the manual level of supply chains, companies will need to move towards automation. Companies will then reskill those workers into different, perhaps supervisory, positions.
Creating digital supply chains
This will mean incorporation technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, 5G and blockchain technology into the supply chain network.
Blockchain plays a key part in this process and will provide backing to a variety of supply chain tracking platforms. This ensures that data is traceable, transparent, and inherently secure.
Blockhead Technologies has created a platform that incorporates blockchain to secure data in a traceable manner. STAMP Supply centralises, integrates, and analyses your data to identify any anomalies and ensure optimal efficiency. This data is stored on the blockchain so that only those with permissions can view it, and any changes or deletions are visible to the entire network.
In the tech world, we’ve been talking about blockchain in supply chains for a while now – now, the need to digitalize is here. By incorporating not only blockchain but also AI, IoT and machine learning, we can streamline company supply chains and reduce human presence to ensure that supply chains continue to function even in times of crisis.