From its onset, the coronavirus pandemic caused major disruptions to supply chains that led to nationwide shortages for many essential products. Consumers witnessed empty shelves when shopping for items like toilet paper, paper towels and disinfecting products. Three months later, some supply chains have recovered to an extent but for others, like suppliers of disinfectants, restocking shelves continues to be a problem. What caused the breakdown and what can we expect from supply chains in the future?
“The disruption brought on by the coronavirus was dramatic wreaking havoc on staffing, sourcing, warehousing, logistics and transportation,” said David Kurz, EdD, associate clinical professor of management, during a recent interview for KYW Newsradio’s “In-Depth” podcast.
According to Kurz, the thing to keep in mind about supply chains is that they are very tailored and customized by industry, product and consumer.
“A supply chain that works well for one kind of product designed for consumers, will not be the right one for another in the industrial space,” he said. “Supply chain leaders strive to be efficient. Their job is to satisfy customers at a low cost. Before the onset of COVID-19, the focus was on lean, low cost and efficiency. Companies would develop forecasts and models to help predict demand for products, and the closer to the forecast things were, the better the job of satisfying customers and keeping profit margins growing. With the disruption brought on by the outbreak of the coronavirus, the forecasts and predictions, and the networks and relationships formed to deliver with low inventories and managed costs was blown up.”
Read more of Kurz’s interview on the Drexel News Blog.