Supply Chain Woes: The Effect COVID-19 Has Had on the Supply Chain Industry

What is supply chain?

According to Supply Chain Digital, the supply chain is “the entire process of making and selling commercial goods, including every stage from the supply of materials and the manufacture of goods to their distribution and sale.” Supply chain management is also crucial. It tracks each step individually to ensure the right amount of goods arrives on time at each stage. Globally, consumers rely on Supply Chain Management (SCM) to ensure that all goods like clothing, gasoline, food, home goods and more arrive on time and enough to meet demands.

With the rise of ecommerce sales, the global supply chain has had to make many changes. A significant player in this is Amazon and how they have had the ability to write many of the standards now used across all businesses, ecommerce or not. One of the most significant changes would be the availability and quickness of goods. Amazon has made it clear that one of its most valued attributes is its shipping time, which has crossed over to all businesses in the last 25 years.

What impacts the supply chain?

The supply chain can be impacted at any of the levels of production to sale. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the supply chain has seen massive disruptions, first in lack of workers. Without people to source products, manufacture items, ship and deliver items the supply chain moves incredibly slowly. In Los Angeles, California, a lack of workers for unloading container ships has increased the number of ships sitting off the coast. The average number of vessels waiting to unload goods before the pandemic averaged at zero to one; however, Covid-19 issues have increased that number to over 27 ships waiting at any given time. The number of containers per ship has also expanded to get more goods per ship to major countries like the US. This has also caused the supply chain to slow down as it now takes around seven days to unload one container ship. There have been significant interruptions in each step of the supply chain, and only a few have been listed here.

Another significant impact that the US has seen that impacts the supply chain is the infrastructure issues. Shortly after the container ship was stuck in the Suez Canal, a bridge over a Kentucky river was shut down due to a steel beam cracking. This prevented trucks (carrying containers) and river barges from going over and under the bridge. This is a hold-up that is being seen all over the country as people begin to run into significant infrastructure problems that have not been addressed and maintained in the past.

What will the future of the supply chain look like?

The industry is being reshaped due to the challenges faced during COVID-19. Challenges like reduced employees, mishaps (ex. Suez Canal crisis), material shortages and the influx of shipments at once (vessels waiting to be unloaded) have caused the top supply chain industry experts to rethink how the global supply chain should be managed. Some of the solutions include built-in stock and AI (artificial intelligence) to help alleviate these challenges.

While these solutions are slowly being implemented, experts believe that AI can solve this problem. It can be programmed to calculate the probability of specific issues (like ship mishaps). As we continue to face new issues, developers can help the AI program learn to make the supply chain systems more efficient.

How can we help alleviate supply chain issues?

Customers can help the supply chain issue by placing orders ahead of time and understanding the backups in the industries they are ordering from. While the global supply chain is slowly recovering, consumers should expect the supply chain to remain slower through 2022. Helping businesses through continued support and patience allows companies to recover through a feeling of guaranteed loyalty from customers.

What is C & A Scientific’s goal in this?

C & A’s goal is to ensure that our customers receive the highest quality products at great prices. Our procurement team works hard to secure goods in a timely and affordable manner. It is important to us to get the items needed in time for our customers; doing this requires planning ahead with our customers and the factories to ensure that we can make up for the delays.

With the help of our team and our loyal customers, we can help reduce the issues that have been happening within the supply chain industry while ensuring that all of our customers’ goals are met.

C & A Scientific is a dedicated leader in improving the health and minds of people worldwide. We supply over 700 award-winning medical and STEM-inspired products to distributors and retailers looking for sensational customer service. Learn more about us and our story here.

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