Every professional, regardless of the industry they work in or the part of the world where they reside, has been affected in some way by the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, the issues that arose due to the outbreak have been a bigger problem for the supply chain than most other sectors, and experts in the field now say those hurdles likely aren't going away anytime soon.

Interestingly, many within the logistics sector now say that, in some ways, the pandemic had some positive effects on their operations, as they were forced to shift their longstanding approaches to all aspects of their operations, according to the 2020 Chief Procurement Officer Flash Survey from Supply & Demand Chain Executive. Data from the survey suggests the companies that performed best throughout the pandemic — a time of financial difficulty for many industries — were the ones that sought to improve amid the challenges.

Top performers tended to have more visibility into their supply chain partners' operations as a whole, and were twice as likely to have digitized aspects of their own operations as the companies that lagged behind, the report said. Furthermore, they were seven times more likely to have connected with more suppliers throughout these trying times.

Suppliers have a lot to consider as 2021 approaches.Suppliers have a lot to consider as 2021 approaches.

Getting it right
Now is certainly the time for companies to look at what they've done throughout the pandemic to adjust to the "new normal," and then examine what has worked well, and what needed a little more time in the oven, according to Evertiq. Taking the time to look at best practices before the new year begins, working with partners to continually improve visibility so that one hand always knows what the other is doing, and making everything you do more of a two-way street is certainly advisable.

But more to the point, even if you've generally done a good job managing the ups and downs of COVID life, it's likely that there are still areas of improvement to be implemented, the report said. That could be especially true when it comes to agility; as illustrated by the success of companies that diversified their supplier bases, being able to quickly pivot when issues arise can be important well beyond the end of the pandemic.

Back to normal
The fact is that it may be some time before the many issues around the pandemic are cleared up, and it's hardly a certainty that this will come within the first few months of 2021. As such, World First recommends that resilience should be the watchword for supply chain organizations in the near term, which is why localized suppliers will be so critical to overcoming lingering challenges in the next several months and beyond.

Companies should know by now that the pandemic really only served to make the weak links in their supply chains more obvious, and even if they've spent the last year or so trying to right those wrongs to one extent or another, there's always more work to be done. Strategizing collectively could help ensure everyone has success over the course of 2021, COVID or not.

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