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Supply chains are never returning to ‘normal’

Supply chains are never returning to ‘normal’ 

The conventional wisdom at this time is that most of the world has moved on from the pandemic (except for China); therefore, supply chains will return to “normal.” Unfortunately, this is not the case. The world has permanently changed and supply chains are going to face continuing challenges for decades to come. Among those challenges are:

  • Supply chains will remain under constant threat of disruption for the next decade
  • Supply chains operate best when the world is peaceful and stable
  • A smoothly running supply chain requires “buffer stock,” which is challenging with declining population demographics
  • There is a conflict between environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals and supply chains optimized for cost and speed. If we prioritize ESG, we will need to contend with supply chain risks
  • Supply chain technology will become the big venture capital category winner as companies continue to make investments in technologies that can help them mitigate their supply chain challenges

In a world faced with the prospect of tightening supplies, higher energy costs, heightened geopolitical risk, and strained transportation networks, advanced supply chain technologies will become mission-critical for many more companies.

Image of U.S. and Chinese flags, with a rupture between them indicating conflict.
U.S.-China relations have become very tense in recent years as China flexes its new economic muscle in other arenas.
(Image: Shutterstock)

Supply chains benefit from times of peace

Anyone that has been a part of the supply chain industry can attest to the fact that supply chains have always been subject to disruptions. Natural disasters, terrorism, economic cycles, and capacity shortages have created challenges since the beginning of trade.

Since the end of the Cold War, global supply chains have benefited from peaceful trade between developed and developing countries…

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