Navigating Supply Chain Disruptions in the Post-Pandemic World

Apr 6, 2023 | Operations Best Practices, Risk Management, Supply Chain

The once-in-a-lifetime COVID-19 pandemic reshaped our lives like no other event over the past 100 years. From businesses closing to entertainment venues missing their vibrant energy, the pandemic ushered in an era that many experts continue to call the “new normal.” One of the most important areas of our lives negatively impacted by the pandemic concerned empty store shelves operating in all types of industries.

Our once dependable supply chain has unhinged at every link from the doorstep of manufacturers to the shelves once easily stocked by retailers.

Supply chain disruptions have unfolded throughout recorded history as the result of war, theft, and natural disasters. COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented disruption in the supply chain, as more than 75 percent of businesses reported at least one major supply chain disruption over the past 12 months. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has waned in disrupting our lives, it remains a huge disruption in the supply chain.

The supply chain represents the heartbeat of the world economy. Without a seamlessly flowing supply chain, businesses have no inventory to stock, no product to sell to consumers, and a significant drop in revenue that leads to economic carnage. According to a Gartner research study, just a little over 20 percent of businesses can claim they operate with a highly resilient supply chain.

This means a business like yours might have to learn how to navigate supply chain disruptions in the post-pandemic world.

What Are the Supply Chain Risks?

Managing supply chain risks requires businesses first to identify the risks that can disrupt the flow of goods.

External Risks

External supply chain risks develop from outside your company, which makes it more difficult to plan for disruptions. Demand risks involve miscalculating demand for your products, which continues to be a major issue for companies operating in a wide variety of industries. On the other side of the economic equation, you might have to deal with supply risks, which develop when your business cannot rely on the delivery of products due to a short supply of raw materials. Social, political, and economic factors also can cause a serious external supply chain disruption.

Internal Risks

Internal supply chain risks concern the factors which businesses have much more control over, such as a disruption in your company’s manufacturing process. One of the most publicized causes of supply chain disruptions in the post-pandemic world regards the internal issue of staffing enough employees. Businesses receive their products, but they do not have adequate staffing to sell their products to consumers. Avoiding risks refers to inaccurate business forecasting and a lack of implementing contingency plans for handling supply chain disruptions.

How Does My Business Mitigate Supply Chain Disruptions?

Unsafe business practices, lower quality of products, and experiencing significant business downturns are just three of the reasons why your company should learn how to mitigate the damage caused by a supply chain disruption.

Analyze Your Exposure to Risk

One of the most effective ways to get and stay ahead of a supply chain disruption is to run supplier audits to identify risks. You should determine which of the markets from where you purchase products currently experience some form of social, political, and/or weather-related upheaval. Do your suppliers have the experience and knowledge to know how to avoid supply chain disruptions?

Then, you should prioritize the severity of each risk to determine the likelihood that it might cause a supply chain disruption. One common example of analyzing the risk of a supply chain disruption concerns the status of shipping in areas of the world such as the Strait of Hormuz where much of the world depends on the supply of natural energy products.

Verify the Reputation of Each Supplier

Supply chain disruptions are not just caused by social, political, and/or weather-related factors. Suppliers often play a role in causing disruptions in the delivery of your products. Before you enter into an agreement with any supplier, take the time required to verify each supplier has the ability to secure the right materials, as well as is managed by experienced business owners who have an understanding of how to avoid broken links in the supply chain.

Each one of your suppliers should have the financial stability needed to overcome the obstacles faced by supply chain disruptions. In addition, confirm that every one of your suppliers possesses the insurance required to keep supply chains open and running smoothly.

Operate with Transparency

Open communication represents a vital component your business should have when interacting with each of your suppliers. Every supplier in your network should obtain information such as sales projections that highlight expected increases and decreases in demand for your products. Communicating sales anomalies allows your suppliers to anticipate economic issues that can disrupt the supply chain, which helps your business avoid the damaging financial consequences of running out of one or more products.

The Bottom Line: Remain Vigilant

Although the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has diminished, this does not mean your business does not have to worry about a major supply chain disruption. You should conduct consistent audits of the entire supply chain to determine whether you can expect one or more links in the supply chain to break in the future. Analyzing real-time data should keep your business in front of the next supply chain disruption.

Additional Supply Chain Resources

The Future of Supply Chain Management: Trends and Best Practices

Managing Risk in an Uncertain Business Environment


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