Contributed by Curtis Dennie
The year 2021 has ended with many unresolved issues in logistics and supply chain. If there is anything that we have learnt is the significant role and value of logistics in disaster operations, particular the impact of the pandemic and the volcanic eruption of 2021 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the degree to which our global supply chains are fragile and lethargic in their ability to respond to unexpected changes in demand. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has tested the ingenuity, resilience and flexibility of supply chain leaders globally, as they have sought to maintain essential operations. Although disruptions are inevitable, we need to plan and respond differently if we’re to ensure national and regional economic resiliency in the future. With the COVID-19 crisis, fundamental changes in consumer behaviour, supply chains, and routes to market are knocking companies off balance.
Responding to the pandemic has underscored the need for leaders to accelerate the adoption of agile ways of working and value chain transformation to help outmanoeuvre uncertainty. Virtually overnight, the pandemic created incredible pressure for businesses to diversify not only their services and products but to reconsider their power and relationships within the supply chain. One of the lessons learnt for businesses is that they cannot assume suppliers will always be there, thus the urgency to reconsider diversification of their supply chain, the establishment of new strategic partners and the leveraging of technology to increase operational efficiency and develop redundancies for the distribution of services and manual processes.
Unexpected rise in demand can create supply chain disruption which is having a material impact on consumer prices and a rapid escalation of shipping costs. Demand over supply of ships will remain a challenge in 2022, therefore businesses should re-examine their first mile logistics costs and inventory management strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a short-term crisis; it has long-lasting implications for how people work and how supply chains function. There is a pressing need for businesses to build long-term resilience in their value chains for managing future challenges. This requires holistic approaches to manage the supply chain. Companies must build in sufficient flexibility to protect against future disruptions. They should also consider developing a robust framework that includes a responsive and resilient risk management operations capability.
The COVID-19 vaccination process has a number of implications for an organisation’s resiliency in the face of labour disruption occasioned by the pandemic. The risk and vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States to exogenous shocks cannot be overemphasised thus the urgent need for business to develop continuity plans to enable resiliency. It cannot be business as usual, business leaders therefore must take immediate actions to sustain business operations to serve their customers, clients and communities, as well as protect and support their workers.