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The key supply chain lesson of COVID-19 is that when market conditions change fast, being prepared matters more than ever, leveraging systems that support visibility, rapid decision-making, and flexible response. Because when an unexpected world event strikes, you need to work with the tools you have at hand. 

The general public had some idea that our world was highly interconnected, but this crisis intensely magnified that fact, bringing home just how deeply complex global supply chains support all aspects of our business and personal lives. Everyone now appreciates what we as supply chain professionals do every day. And the often unsung people who make the products, drive the trucks, stock the shelves, deliver the packages, and check-out the groceries are now viewed as heroes.  

This crisis occurred just as disruptive technologies are creating new ways to create business opportunities and solve business problems. The factors that fueled the rise of globalization were already shifting, and the ramifications of COVID-19 will add to those pressures. Marginal cost savings must now be offset against the many political, environmental, and social risks associated with single sourcing. Flexibility and resiliency have never been more important.

We see our customers focusing less on pure cost savings and more on adaptability, speed, risk management, and sustainability. They see the first-time cost of product as less of a factor because many are adding or moving to a services model. They also want the ability to respond to customers’ issues quickly, which drives them to more balanced and flexible sourcing models. Spanning all of this, they want visibility and control across their entire enterprise and value chain. 

If you are struggling in these difficult times, we’re here to help. We recognize that there is no quick fix to resolve the immediate fallout from this crisis, but we can help you prepare for whatever change comes next. 

Meanwhile we understand and enormously appreciate the hard work you are all doing to keep our critical supply chains operating. Thank you to our many healthcare provider customers on the front lines. Thank you to our many manufacturing and high tech customers who are switching to life-saving priorities such as test equipment, ventilators, and face masks. Thank you to our many CPG customers who are working overtime to make the day-to-day products we all need. Thank you to our many logistics provider customers who ship those products to where they are needed. And thank you to our many retail customers whose employees are still stocking the shelves and manning the check-out counters.

While we can’t name you all, we do thank you all.

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