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Exposed Vulnerability of the Supply Chain System- Covid 19 Strikes Back!


The covid-19 epidemic is now known as the most challenged and dangerous crisis in the world. This has slowed down the economy of the entire world and affected great corporate and businesses. Impact of Covid-19 has been very unnatural and uncommon as it has been devastating. The response of the nation has been unpredictable as well, such as bans on travel, closure of borders, closure of business and several cases in complete lockdown. Hence, the vulnerability of the supply chain has been brutally exposed by this epidemic.

The outbreak isn’t an isolated event. It is becoming difficult to find alternative suppliers to keep the business running. For many years, low-cost supply and minimal inventory has been the key roles of supply chain management. An investment in the supply chain system can bring its vulnerability to a resilience mode. Leading distributors are now thinking of the cost of network risk and to invest more in resilient supply chains. Recovering power becomes stronger.

Mr Anshu Raj, Founder of Caterspoint said “To meet the customer’s need, which has now shifted due to Covid-19 is a challenge for the supply chain system. There is a need of a flexible supply chain that can cut cost and improve cash flow with an increase to inventory turn. Once the pandemic passes and the global economy begins to function normally, many might assume they should manage their global supply networks as in the past, with the lowest-cost supply and minimal inventory levels. While that approach worked in a stable global economy, it now brings increased risk. The assumptions about supply chain management have shifted.”

Domestic firms must now develop their own local sourcing units and adopt alternatives strategies to reduce its dependency on imported goods and raw materials. Slowing growth and shrinking consumption is a matter of acute concern. This has emphasized on minimisation of cost and “just in time deliveries.”

As stated by Mr. Raj, “We always had a strong vendor and inventory management system and an approved vendor pool. This has helped us in continuing our operations even during the lockdown. However, a completely smooth supply chain will take time. Recently, we had to temporarily discontinue a few of our SKUs due to the complete shutdown of their raw material supply but with the hope of relaxation of restrictions during the lockdown, we hope to start with those SKUs back soon.”

Looking at the challenges in the supply chain management, shortage of manpower and sealed borders has now been a great drawback.  There have been challenges in operating as the routine has been disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances, which include the commute of employees, last-mile delivery, and vendor supply chain.

Mr. Arpit Shukla, Procurement Specialist, Caterspoint

Mr Arpit Shukla, Procurement Specialist, Caterspoint “ On a regular day, we had about 100 people working in the organization but due to Covid-19 and government-issued advisory, we are practising social distancing as well as keeping the workforce in shifts that have led to us, operating on skeletal staff. Also, planning of deliverables is being planned within the city or the area itself. The logistics are a great problem which has been sorted out with managing of chain procuring system.”Flexible supply chains played a critical role, including rapid raw material sourcing, product design, development and testing, and distribution. A goal of any procurement specialist is to uncover cost savings opportunities. However, just focusing on ways to save money is not an effective approach to supply chain optimization because it has the potential to hurt other critical areas. Through Proper Planning, Partnership, Process and Performance, the supply chain can be managed tactfully.