The Post-Pandemic Supply Chain: What Will It Look Like

By Logan Wamsley

Crises on the level of the one currently being experienced around the world are not known to have short-term repercussions. In fact, many leave behind aspects of life that can still be felt to this day. The Great Depression, for example, redefined the role government plays within the financial system, while the 9/11 attacks permanently changed the nature of travel and cyber security.

Although the smoke has still yet to clear on the COVID-19 pandemic, many experts have nevertheless taken the time to project what they feel the permanent fixtures might be. These projections extend well beyond individual life and into the business world, and many of them begin with questions regarding what the “new normal” might look like for supply chains.

Here are two ways in which the “new” supply chain moving forward might significantly differ in a post-COVID world:

Increased Desire for Domestic Supply Chain Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic is somewhat unique in that, for the first time in recorded history, demand, supply, and workforce availability have all been affected on a global scale simultaneously. In this environment, many of the shortcomings of the modern supply chain have been revealed in their entirety, which will require vast restructuring and rethinking to overcome in the long term. For example, over the last 30 years, many supply chains have become reliant on off-shore suppliers and manufacturers in an effort to lower both manufacturing costs and product costs. Moving forward, there will almost certainly be a movement to greater diversify and invest in domestic manufacturing solutions, which would go a long way toward insulating industries from the types of disruptions being currently experienced. An example of such solutions might include domestic long-term storage options for necessary electronic inventory not unlike the Semiconductor Storage Solution offered by Partstat.

Increased Transparency Between Suppliers and Manufacturers

Additionally, new measures are likely to be taken to make supply chains in all regards more transparent, predictable, and flexible by leveraging a wider range of global suppliers. This will necessitate greater responsibility on the manufacturer side to implement strategies for discovering and monitoring a wider base of suppliers, just as suppliers must increase their efforts to expand their visibility to wider geographies. This will require a wide variety of digital platforms such as Partstat’s Part Search, which compiles data such as real-time market pricing, factory lead times, authorized channel quantities, and lifecycle statuses from virtually all of the world’s major suppliers — all of which can be accessed for free. Widely accessible and transparent data such as this will allow all parties to operate more effectively and efficiently in a future tainted in the wake of COVID-19.