How the supply chain and logistics industry are facing the brunt of the coronavirus lockdown

To mitigate the fallout in the industry, businesses in the supply chain and logistics industries are stepping up their efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic efficiently.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global economy, businesses are ramping up their efforts to maintain continuity. Multiple countries have been placed under lockdown, barring operations for businesses apart from those delivering essential services. Businesses across numerous verticals are bearing the brunt of the situation.

Amid the unprecedented pandemic, multiple services such as travel, transport, retail, etc., have been halted temporarily. In the meantime, businesses are trying to find ways to deal with the current scenario that will be beneficial in the longer run. So, how are the supply chain and logistics industries handling the crisis?

Here are some trends that are driving these industries amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

Demand and supply

While there is a demand for goods, especially essential items, several manufacturing plants have been closed temporarily, because of which the supply chain has come to a halt. On the international front, a majority of flights have been suspended, disrupting the global shipping of goods. Further, the forced closure of factories has pushed brands that are still operating to procure materials using alternative ways to meet the demand from the people.

While a sustainable supply chain is majorly driven by consumer demand, the lack of resources such as transport and manufacturing, makes it challenging for the seamless functioning of supply chains around the world. This may prove to be a challenge once the pandemic has passed and the world returns to normalcy, with demand increasing.

Clearance of leftover stock

One of the major aspects that businesses dealing with non-essential items should focus on is the stocking up of materials or products. At a time when only essential items and services are being permitted, the stock of all non-essential items would be piled up in warehouses.

Data shows that shipments that were stuck (orders which were yet to be scanned) were at 9 percent, and delayed orders surged to 21 percent between March 10-20, 2020. Once businesses resume their operations and production starts, ensuring that the pre-existing stocks are cleared will be a concern.

Technology-led transformation

Technology has led to a paradigm shift in the operating methods of urban logistics and supply chain management sectors. During such challenging times when there are limited resources available, technological advancements have come in handy in more ways than one.

The current crisis has left almost all employees across verticals to work remotely. Working out of factories will only increase the transmission of the virus. However, the absence of manpower increases the strain on the supply chain, which is where technology comes into the picture.

Brands are leveraging disruptive new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), and robotics to maintain their business continuity. With drones being developed and businesses such as e-commerce logistics, being urged to follow contactless delivery to customers, the near future could bring us drone delivery.

E-commerce logistics companies are on-boarding new partners onto their platforms for seamless intra-city delivery of goods, particularly essential items. These brands are also expected to resume inter-city shipment of goods once the lockdown regulations are relaxed across the country.

Although positive COVID-19 cases are on the rise in most countries, governments and private organisations are working together towards containment and eradication. The Indian government has already been considering allowing certain industries and manufacturing plants to be reopened and resume operations with about 20-25 percent employee capacity.

If proper social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene norms are followed by the masses, the supply chain and logistics industry will be able to avoid further downfall and move towards normalcy in the coming days.

Edited by Suman Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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