Global supply chains were undoubtedly affected as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that sweeped the world 4 years ago. It is arguable that there are still supply chain issues occurring as a continuing consequence of the pandemic, which we will discuss in this article. Global freight forwarders and the general public have been affected exponentially by the pandemic in the form of supply chain shortages which resulted in disruption to businesses and families across the globe.
The impact on global supply chains was still felt as recently as 2022, with backlogged stock that was intended to be shipped, still struggling to make it out of warehouses and back into the chain. Up to 72% of companies reported that the pandemic had negatively affected their business. There were a few exceptions to this, though, companies who provided PPE, toilet paper, canned goods, and flour continued with business as usual as a priority, but industries deemed lesser were disrupted the most.
It should also be addressed though, that global supply chains across every industry were actually positively impacted by Covid-19. Thanks to the pandemic, freight forwarding companies were forced to confront the vulnerabilities in their business practices and change the way they worked in line with the changes. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the pandemic was in full swing that business-owners realised the way they did business was unsustainable in the environment as it was. So it needed to be changed. Surprisingly enough, suppliers and freight forwarders are actually very easily forgotten. So, the pandemic and the supply chain issues that came with it were actually a blessing in disguise, as they were finally given the voice they needed to achieve investment in new technologies and real-time visibility.
Despite the consequences that did come from the pandemic to global supply chains, the positive outcomes are now starting to present themselves. For example, there has since been a technological shift that has seen the implementation of automated systems such as robots in warehouses and fully automated planning. Studies show, with the evidence of the rapid evolution of technology in global supply chains within just the last few years, that by 2035, almost all systems that could create opportunity for supply chain issues will be fully automated.
Currently, supply chain shortages are still common as a result of changing relationships between countries. Such as the UK leaving the EU and Brexit affecting the ways in which Britain imports and exports, and with the world, Ukraine and Russia after war broke out in 2022. Fortunately, the chances of long-term shortages are lessening with the world’s approach to imports and exports, as well as more strategic approaches to these processes that forwarders and suppliers are beginnign to adopt.