Coronavirus exposes supply chain weakness



The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent global lockdown has stalled and frozen international transport and the infrastructure that supports it, exposing vulnerabilities in the supply chains of raw materials, components and finished goods.

The current global supply chains of many businesses are fragile and teeming with potential problems, which may be evidenced by product flow interruptions.

Single-sourcing has been highlighted as one of the most common critical weaknesses that can undermine and disrupt supply chains.

New health threats and a myriad of other perils will continue to emerge and each one will potentially have significant impact on supply chains, and particularly those that rely on single sources of supply.

Firms that embraced the concept have been facing particularly acute problems during the pandemic, initially from China and now most particularly from India.

The risks of single sourcing are very evident to supply chain professionals, who are always averse to ‘putting all their eggs in one basket’, but they are often overruled by their procurement colleagues, who are more focused on cost savings and the bottom line impact.

Metro systems replicate the physical supply chain virtually and instantly connect all participants, providing the owner with end-to-end visibility and control of their supply chain

Strategic direction in recent decades has made some sectors particularly vulnerable.

There are over 1,500 healthcare firms with facilities in China, and India that has been a major pharmaceutical manufacturer for years, with both countries critical to the medical supply chains of Europe and North America.

The massive flows of PPE and essential coronavirus-related cargo out of China drowned out the needs of other products and their supply chains, with delays ranging from several days to months, depending on the amount of cash available to keep product moving.

Diversifying supplier base and their location will take time, because sourcing potential partners and conducting due diligence, means that most firms will be slow to transform.

Metro’s technology simplifies many elements of what would otherwise be a very daunting exercise.

Our cloud-based supply chain management platform, MVT, replicates the physical supply chain virtually and instantly connects all supply chain participants, providing the owner with end-to-end visibility of their supply chain and control over every additional vendor.

Which means that it is simple to extend the platform to embrace new vendors, in new geographies, with new supply chain functionality and timelines.

Metro work with many leading manufacturers, across many regions, managing the movement of 000’s of SKUs every day.

Data collation, interrogation and interpretation is critical to their operations, which is why our technical team are increasingly working with blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence initiatives to enhance and evolve our solutions.

We are already seeing the inclusion of big data in active enhancements: Risk analysis, identification and alerting, with instant supply chain modification; and global asset tracking, to within one metre, with continuous environmental monitoring feeding back data to identify performance issues and target problem areas.