Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 44 seconds

When the coronavirus (COVID-19) began; experts theorized how a potential pandemic would affect the supply chain industry. Months later as the coronavirus continues to spread with no indication of stopping – the supply chain and logistics community are starting to see just how quickly the virus can impact businesses both small and large.

While no supply chain community is safe – those that rely heavily on China and other Asian communities to manufacture, produce, or distribute their products will be the most effected by the disease.  With China accounting for a majority of the garment production (according to the World Trade Organization, China exported $161 billion dollars in apparel and $106 billion in textile in 2016) – the fashion industry has been struggling to keep up with demand as Chinese factories, are closed in attempts to keep the virus at bay.

Production is not the only part of the fashion industry taking a hit. Due to an outbreak of the virus in Italy – fashion designers are having to rethink how to market their clothing. Milan Fashion Week occurred at the same time that Italy is seeing a steady uptick on coronavirus cases. While fashion shows normally take place in front of an audience - Giorgio Armani streamed his fashion show online to an empty room to avoid any spread of the disease.

Big pharma is also expected to take a hit as the virus continues to spread. Many drugs are made from materials produced only in China. With factories shut down or not at full capacity – pharmacies may see a shortage of drugs. According to the director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Dr. Janet Woodcock – 72% of all active pharmacy ingredients are made in China. In a statement to Congress, she indicated that the shear number of APIs being made overseas could “creates vulnerabilities in the U.S. supply chain.” A few months later – her fears may actually come to fruition.

The FDA assured the public that there is no shortage of drugs but an FDA spokesperson declared, "If a potential shortage or disruption of medical products is identified by the FDA, we will use all available tools to react swiftly and mitigate the impact to U.S. patients and health care professionals.”

The tech industry has also seen substantial set-backs in their supply chain. Many factories are located in China or other Asian countries that employ Chinese workers. While factories were originally scheduled to be shut down for a few weeks in January – some are not opening back up until March at the earliest. Products expected to be delayed are the iPhone, VR sets, and even cars.

Numerous tech conferences have also been postponed or cancelled due to outbreak of COVID-19 for the public’s safety. Due to numerous companies backing out of the Mobile World Congress over concerns of the virus – the show was cancelled. Game Developers Conference has saw a few key sponsors pulling out of their event as did Pax East.

The fashion, tech, and drug industries are experiencing delays in their supply chain at the moment – but it doesn’t mean the rest of the supply chain industry is in the clear. The coronavirus has the ability to cripple the global supply chain and logistics industries as it continues to wreck havoc in China and abroad.

Last modified on Monday, 24 February 2020
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 Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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