Global Supply Chain Fragility Could Have Us Singing the Holiday Blues

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that the supply chain can never go back to the way it was pre-pandemic. We’ve learned too much about its fragility and lack of flexibility to choose returning to the status quo.

After a tumultuous year, Canadians have many things for which we can be thankful. So far, a resilient supply chain has been one of them, but that might be about to end, just in time to spoil the holidays. From labor and equipment shortages to process inefficiencies, the cracks in the global supply chain are showing signs of severe pressure that could make it difficult to meet the demands of holiday shopping.  

When the COVID-19 pandemic overtook the world in early 2020, there were dire predictions that the supply chain for critical items like food and medical supplies would collapse. While there were some early disruptions, such as the shortage of personal protective equipment … Read more...

The Global Supply Chain is Under Pressure: People, Not Tools, Can Save It

Labor shortages in the global supply chain are cuasing shortages of fuel and food.
During the pandemic, global supply chains have kept food, vaccines and consumer goods moving. Now, the cracks are starting to show as labor shortages lead to food and fuel crises. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, people gave little thought to the workings of the global supply chain. In the world of Amazon and Google, most of us have become accustomed to getting everyday items—from groceries to luxury devices—delivered to our front door simply by engaging a few buttons on our cell phones. While the pandemic might have had a marginal impact on some of the things we were able to obtain, many of us have lived our lockdown lives without any significant disruption to our consumption of material goods. 

However, recent events might suggest that all is not well with the global supply chain. The International Chamber of Shipping has published an open letter to world governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) advocating … Read more...

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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