Society problems

COVID-19: How the pandemic has changed society

Since March 2020, supply chain disruptions have been a huge pain point for Americans and others around the world. Whether it’s an out-of-stock crib, not seeing a familiar product on the grocery store shelves, or hard-to-find gifts this holiday season, nearly everyone has been affected by supply chain issues as a by-product of the pandemic.

These distributions, however, have national and global impacts and origins and did not occur in a vacuum, says Thomas DeCarlo, Ph.D., Ben S. Weil Endowed Chair of Industrial Distribution at the Collat ​​School of Business .

“From a global perspective, getting key parts from China, such as microchips for cars, has been very difficult,” DeCarlo said. “This can be attributed to COVID-related labor restrictions and power supply restrictions in China, which are slowing down the manufacturing process and availability of microchips for U.S. automakers, resulting in fewer new cars for sale in the states. -United. Contributing to this shortage is the stockpiling of chip inventory by some companies to help alleviate their future shortages.

In the United States, DeCarlo notes, the lack of logistics space available for inventory has crippled the supply chain, such as backlogs of product deliveries from ships to ports and distribution. A common problem arises in California, where ocean freight containers have been stranded due to a shortage of a common truck frame that stores and transports containers to a warehouse. Coupled with full warehouses due to a shortage of labor and a lack of trucks to move products, a circular problem of inventories not leaving the port has occurred, affecting the average consumer in downstream.

Looking ahead, what does the post-COVID future of supply chain issues hold for us? According to DeCarlo, Americans will likely see more technology introduced into the supply chain to collect real-time data.

“The future of distribution, for example, will likely include more data analytics services to provide new ways to add value to a distributor’s customers and suppliers. Not only will these technologies add value by determining the performance of products, equipment or vehicles, but they will connect members of the supply chain in unique ways to eliminate distribution channel inefficiencies,” said DeCarlo. “In addition, members of the supply chain will be better equipped to anticipate sources of uncertainty, resulting in benefits such as adaptive inventory organization, flexible processes, and better labor allocation. work. It is likely that the post-COVID supply chain will become more like a high-tech industry with cutting-edge tools and applications that will attract a new pool of talent to handle this new automation.