Never before has supply chain been at the forefront of the world’s minds than it is in this COVID-19 crisis today. Supply chain workers across the globe are still showing up every day in factories, warehouses, tractor-trailers, retail stores, and ports.
Having spent the better part of my 25-year career designing and implement supply chain improvement projects, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the jobs that these people do every day. It can be repetitive, demanding, and it often goes unnoticed. Unless, of course, there is something wrong—then it’s supply chain’s fault. Or, heaven forbid, there is a truck trying to get up an incline that has the nerve to slow you down on the way to wherever you are going. Maybe it’s your favorite item that isn’t on the shelf exactly when you need it or that online request doesn’t deliver the very next day.
We are all spoiled by the excellence and hard work that America’s supply chain workers are doing.
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The crisis we are facing today resulted in an unplanned shift in the supply chain. Planners could not have forecasted the spike in daily staples (e.g., toilet paper, baking supplies, hand sanitizer) that we are all just hoping to find when we get to the grocery store. Nonetheless, these heroes are all still out there manufacturing, moving, and stocking product. They are taking much more risk than I am today working from home.
When this is all over, we, as supply chain executives, will work to learn from the creative solutions that were created during this crisis. Our goal will be to build a better and more reliable supply chain for the companies that we support. This better supply chain will need to include solutions that make the day-to-day jobs of our supply chain partners on the front lines better as well.
Thank you all for what you do to keep America running. I don’t think that supply chain will ever be looked at in the same way again.