People are paying more attention to the supply chains that keep store shelves stocked. The novel coronavirus pandemic disrupted the flow of many products and exposed how crucial supply chains are.
These chains are complex, often global networks that make it possible for consumers to get a wider variety of items more quickly. They can also help keep prices down.
In normal times, technology and highly-skilled operators keep everything running smoothly. But the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a perfect storm that changed it all.
People started panic buying certain items in March. Stores reacted by increasing orders from their suppliers. That put a strain on the supply chain, which was already facing other complications.
Workers at all stops of the chain started getting sick. Plants and distribution centers had to close. Historic shutdowns forced delivery route changes that added another layer of chaos.
All these changes made it tougher for businesses to keep control of their chains.
Now, after months of conserving disinfectant wipes and grocery-store hopping in search of eggs, supply chains are starting to straighten back out. But things are not going back to normal. Closures and restrictions are still common and vary from place to place.
Businesses are adapting to make sure their chains stand strong in the face of any future uncertainty.
Experts agree that advancing technology will play a key role in what the future looks like. They say transparency will, too, as the consumer’s sustainability and ethical expectations evolve.