Manufacturing: Surviving our New Normal

By early 2020, manufacturing had regained much of the momentum it lost after the 2008 recession. Then the pandemic hit, bringing with it staffing and supply chain woes.

(The following is an excerpt from our report, The New Retool: Pivoting Manufacturing To Be Ready for Anything.)

As the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the globe, it’s not surprising the industry that makes personal protective equipment (PPE) rapidly ramped up production. The demand for N95 respirators and a range of other vital protective equipment like faceshields, gloves, atmosphere-supplying respirators (supplied-air respirators (SARs), self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs) and combination SARs/SCBAs) and protective garments initially overwhelmed supply.

A video from the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) – “Beyond the Mask” – shows how the PPE industry responded to the unprecedented challenges posed by the worst public-health crisis in a century.

“Beyond the Mask” reveals the behind-the-scenes work involved in getting PPE into … Read more...

How Does Refrigerant Management Help Save the Environment?

The COVID pandemic and ambitious drive to vaccinate the global population made the capacity and integrity of the cold chain as part of supply chain management even more important.

Every day, billions of tons of cargo move around the world by sea, air, rail and road. Much of this cargo is food, beverages and pharmaceuticals that require temperature-controlled transportation to prevent spoilage.

A temperature-controlled supply chain is often called the “cold chain,” a series of refrigerated production, transportation, storage and distribution activities that maintain and monitor a consistent and correct temperature appropriate to the item being transported. For example, fish products must be transported at -18°C, meat and fresh dairy products at + 6 °C while fresh fruit and vegetables need temperatures between 0°C to 16°C depending on the type. Any deviation, however minor, can destabilize the safety of the goods, force an expensive recall and/or result in spoilage and … Read more...

Have You Started Planning for Post-Pandemic Procurement?

Many organizations now are considering more options, such as repatriation and re-shoring, to increase the agility of their supply chains.

Over the last few decades, companies have been optimizing their supply chains to lower costs, reduce inventory and maximize asset utilization. Supply chain globalization offered many benefits. It opened new markets and new sourcing options and lowered costs from suppliers. Globalization and offshore manufacturing became so common that by 2018, China accounted for around 28% of all global manufacturing output and most companies around the world had become dependent on offshore manufacturing.

As successful as globalization was for companies – increasing their revenues, margins and profitability – it also created a vulnerability that was hidden until a Black Swan event such as the global pandemic brought it to light. COVID-19 exposed some significant vulnerabilities in global supply chains that companies are still wrestling with over a year later.

The COVID-19

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