Global supply chains provide a network for the import and export of goods and services to different countries. But it has seen a huge setback during 2020 due to COVID-19. The pandemic has deeply disrupted the supply chain operations. There have been various challenges like slow digital transformation, shortage of actionable insights, and meeting ever-growing import and export demands.

Giants like Amazon, Ali Baba, and many such companies have raised the supply chain standards. To be in the race, the other supply chain managers and companies completely renovated and remodeled their supply chain management departments by adapting to various strategies.   

Now the companies are adopting flexibility, sustainability by sourcing valued data to meet the raised standard and to increase their end-to-end visibility in 2021. Let’s look in deep at the biggest supply chain challenges of 2021.

Flexibility

Flexible supply chain provides a huge benefit of adjusting and remodeling the supply chain according to the current needs of the market. To adapt to this technique, one should always be ready with different solutions to meet the situation. If the supplier lacks the ability then definitely the supply chain of the business will see an immense blow. The supplier company that is advanced in adopting flexibility in the supply chain will know how to source and increase the production capacity.

Sustainability

Sustainability of the environment is one of the burning issues that need to be catered to as it is the need of the hour. The supply chain of the product sees instant decline if it is not in tandem with sustainable strategies. Consumers are more inclined to buy services that are environment-friendly and deals in reusable or recyclable products. For example, despite buying plastic wares, they tend to buy metal products, despite buying new containers for less time they tend to buy old shipping containers and implementing many other such techniques. They are zealous of taking the services that promote and safeguard the environment. Sustainable practice comes with its own set of benefits but supply chain managers are adapting to it specifically because of consumers. They are applying every strategy to reduce their carbon footprint.  

Resilience

During the pandemic, there has been a shortage of many products due to the non-resilient supply chain. There are many reasons for this non-resilience, such as inconsistency in customer needs, poor inventory management, and low acquisition of goods. Before COVID, it was a trend to adopt the lean practice in the supply chain. Lean practice is when a supplier focuses only on the present needs and demands of consumers and caters to it. And the result is clear in front of us. There was a huge shortage of many stocks that was needed at the time of COVID but was unnecessary before it. Now, the suppliers are trying to ditch lean services to be resilient and overcome the shortage of any product by taking services of local providers as well.

End-to-end Visibility

The global chain suppliers have been trying to enhance end-to-end visibility for a long. Today is the generation of digital transformation and by using advanced digital strategies like the use of IoT in the logistics and container trading industry, one can have clarity of location, stock inventory and its movement, and consumer needs. Digital technology can be used in many ways.

By using IoT devices, the real-time production data can be calculated. It is connected through the internet with a wireless network.

By using RFID chips you can get real-time logistics data of your goods. Through it, the current rate of goods and whether it is available or not is checked.

Nowadays, shipping container suppliers, freight shippers, wholesale goods suppliers, and every other supplier is trying to adapt to the digital strategy to avoid any huge loss and serve consumers better.

The Recent Crisis of Suez Canal

You must have heard about the recent Suez Canal incident in which Ever Given, one of the largest container ships got stuck, hence putting hundreds of other shipping containers on hold. This has rendered into huge chaos as it affected the global supply chain deeply. The other ships that were struck because of Ever Given were carrying huge merchandise that caters to human’s daily needs, from medical, food, and other such items. The whole incident was there for six days. The situation has been averted but put forward an important question, “Are we even ready to handle the situation if it happens again?”

We need to be prepared to handle such a condition if it happens again and even be ready with the solution beforehand so that the global supply won’t get affected.

Shortage of Products

The shortage of products dangles the supply chain. During the pandemic, the world has seen a vast shortage of products due to huge demand for items that were not covered in lean supplies at that time. Hand sanitizers, PPE kits, and other such products were rendered as less worthy and were produced and transported at less rate. The shortage of goods, raw materials, or any such items deeply affects the supply chain. The suppliers are leaving the practice of lean services so that they won’t have to face such difficulties again and can manage a healthy and balanced global supply chain. 

AI

Artificial Intelligence is changing the face of the global supply chain. In the last decade, the usage of AI has been on the rise and it will keep rising in near future. AI carries on basic operations and previous data processing easily as it is fully automatic. Hence by saving lots of time and manual effort and making all supplying processes efficient.

Though the situation is becoming better after the pandemic. Still, there are many challenges in the supply chain that are being faced globally. But the good news here is that we can avoid the challenges by applying the right data collection strategy, adopting the right technology, finding a better balance between lean services, storing various important and less important goods. The container suppliers should also keep used or new shipping containers or storage containers in stock so that there should be no delay in supplying goods. Every industry has its processing way and tackles the problem differently. The best way to see that the supply chain process is balanced and efficient; you should carry it under a central system to monitor every detail and step to avoid any misstep.

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