Supply Chain is one of the biggest hot button topics of the last six months. Whether it has to do with the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic or with various issues such as the relations in the Middle East or the Suez Canal.
What many people don’t realize is that the supply chain is something that drives our daily lives. Whether it’s picking up apples at the grocery store or buying an item off of Amazon we depend on various supply chains to fulfill our daily needs.
2020 saw the largest disruption in the supply chain that we have ever seen. With shortages of basic life sustaining materials such PPE, toilet paper, and food items there seemed to be no end to the disruption that we were facing within the pandemic. While many people believed that the pandemic interruption started in mid-March 2020, the disruption by COVID was already in place long before that.
In February 2020, 70% of businesses reported that they were already taking inventory to assess which materials were currently a part of lockdown shortages and what products they might have to be on the watch for shortages. This points to ineffective supply chains months before the pandemic put them into questions.
This raises questions about the effectiveness of the vaccine supply chain for the near future. Will we be able to sustain supply for a highly demanded item? It may cause many to wonder how we can do this. However, we have learned quite a bit about effective supply chains through the pandemic.
97% of businesses worldwide were affected by supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 81% of businesses reported lower demand coupled with the 76% of businesses who had decreased revenue. This had the effect of closing businesses permanent and over 60% of those businesses will maintain a permanent closure.
In the first two weeks of the pandemic, small businesses suffered with high rent and low volume. In the period of March to June high income households were the most likely to reduce their spending. Finally from February to April, minority businesses were two times as likely to see a decline in business ownership.
During the pandemic we also saw an increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion through America. 70% of millennials chose to shop at businesses that were inclusive of diversity. 60% of consumers said that brands’ reactions to protests would determine their future shopping habits. 53% of young adults vowed to not work at businesses that did not respond to the protests.
No matter what happened during the pandemic, we know that diversity is better for businesses. Diversity increases innovation and motivation. It leads to an increased number of patent filings for new products. It also leads to more citations of these products.
Following the protests of 2020, businesses made many promises to encourage and include diversity into their growing future plans. While at the time this was an appropriate gesture, now it is more important to see the follow through. If companies chose to make these promises empty then they could be liable to lose consumer interests and purchasing power.
Companies must also make an effort to include local suppliers into their agenda for the future. When these businesses and suppliers are utilized it enables communities of people to come together and thrive as a unit. It is important for this to occur in order to ensure that these communities can sustain their current economic stability.
Local businesses in conjunction with minority support will play a crucial role in the purchasing decisions made by the future consumers. It is important for companies to consider this now so that we can incorporate them into the supply chain before we overwhelm it. Local and diverse businesses should have already had a place in the supply chain but they will not until companies use their massive platform to demand positive change and incorporate these people into their corporate structure.
Companies can do this by pursuing diverse suppliers which will not only help the supplier but can also directly benefit the companies. By giving back to local communities, companies can contribute the welfare and unity of an association of diverse and innovative leaders.