Supply chain key to recovering after coronavirus slowdown

These are strange times indeed, and while you're likely hearing a lot of references to "the new normal," you also need to keep in mind that within several months, many parts of life will likely be back to "the old normal" again. That certainly incudes the supply chain, but crucially, many experts say the supply chain will actually be key in helping get broader society back to normal.

Interestingly, this will likely start as a cascading effect beginning in China, according to the World Economic Forum. After all, China - the country from which the novel coronavirus originated - is one of the world's leading importers and exporters as well, meaning that it will get its supply chains up and running at full capacity as cases of COVID-19 dwindle within its borders, and will then require closer collaboration with partners in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Supply chains continue to adapt to the 'new normal.'Supply chains continue to adapt to the 'new normal.'

All involved will have to proceed with some measure of caution, of course, the report said. It's all but a certainty there will be more coronavirus outbreaks - though perhaps not at the current scale - through the end of 2020, into 2021 and potentially beyond, and that could also cause supply chain disruptions. Planning for these eventualities, and having effective fallback plans in place, will also be a must.

Potential positives?
It may seem strange to talk about some of the consequences of the pandemic - and its attendant economic impact - as being positive, but experts in the supply chain say that it has necessitated a reordering of existing processes, according to CNBC. By altering previous norms out of necessity, companies may be able to put themselves on better footing going forward - ironing out wrinkles that were previously acceptable or even invisible.

Even still, it may take months or even years to fully realize just how much coronavirus has affected the global supply chain, the report said. whether that's a good or bad thing depends entirely upon the industry's response.

"I don't think things will return to normal as we've known them over the last couple of decades," Alex Capri, a visiting senior fellow at the National University of Singapore's business school, told the network. "We are in a completely different new era now and globalization as we've known it in the past is over."

Getting back on track
With all this in mind, it's important for companies to have contingencies on their contingencies, especially over the next few years, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review. After all, it will be difficult or even impossible to predict when or where another outbreak will occur, and they cannot be left flat-footed when supply chains were cut off as they have been in recent months.

The more companies can do to strategize for just about any issue that arises in their supply chains, the better off they will be when it comes to getting back on their feet - and serving the needs of partners, consumers and the society in general. That, in turn, provides a net benefit to all involved, and makes sure everyone is more responsive to the next big slowdown.

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