The Bright Idea You Need Right Now®

Why Has “Supply Chain” Become Visible?

It used to be that the words "supply chain" were hardly ever heard of in public parlance; you would usually only hear those words uttered certain contexts - within and between large companies, in business schools, or perhaps in a college-level curriculum. Now it seems not a day goes by without it gracing the front page of the Wall Street Journal or other prominent publications or news websites, and usually in dire terms. Why happened? The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light how fragile modern supply chains can be in the face of unexpected disruptions. For years - actually, decades, supply chains have operated very efficiently because in most cases, supply and demand were very well understood and managed. The only time you'd likely hear about a supply chain issue is when a major strike occurred, or an unexpected weather or other calamity occurred that disrupted a key plant or other "link" in the supply chain.

Well, the pandemic turned out to be one of those calamities, but on a scale that hasn't been seen before in modern times. Because of the initial lockdowns across the globe, demand unexpectedly exploded for certain things (we all remember when we couldn't find toilet paper anywhere), and then it came to a sudden and grinding halt, as we remained mostly trapped indoors. Government aid put money in our pockets, but we only had certain ways to spend it (mostly online) and things to spend it on (mostly material goods), as most services couldn't be provided. Suppliers and manufacturers struggled to meet the shifting demand patterns, through a combination of the soaring demand for certain things and the inability to execute the usual supply chains due to pandemic-driven restrictions that limited labor availability and other needed resources. In 2021, as COVID vaccines became readily available and other preventative steps like masking became more common and accepted, some degree of normalcy has returned, causing demand to return to near (or even greater than) pre-pandemic levels, but supply hasn't across the board. Restoring the supply chains will take much longer, as many people are going through personal reassessments or other considerations that have significantly impacted the labor market and its availability for businesses. Companies are trying to adjust on the fly and figure out how they're going to produce goods and deliver services in new and creative ways, and that will take innovative approaches and even more creative thinking.

There's no formula to be Googled in this new, semi-post pandemic world that will work for every enterprise or business; every situation is unique and business owners and leaders will require flexibility and patience to work through a new, viable, and sustainable way to continue on with their business goals and objectives. Credible help and advice does exist from those who have been through supply chain challenges before, and if you find yourself needing that kind of help or thinking, then it's time to reach out. Among the numerous lessons the pandemic has taught all of us, patience, flexibility, and reasonable risk-taking rank among the most important. Contact us for a conversation about how we can help you get back on track with ideas and solutions - in other words, the bright idea you need right now.