Although challenges have been there before, there are no shortages that have been experienced in the manufacturing sector for essential and non-essential items like it was the case during the peak of the pandemic. The biggest challenge was and is still experienced in the manufacture of medical supplies, which have forced healthcare professionals to repurpose and reuse equipment. While the pandemic has eased in many parts of the world, many essential workers still lack the equipment and tools that is required to carry out tasks that keep everyone else safe. With these challenges, it has become quite clear that the only way most of these problems can be solved in the future is to support domestic manufacturing. This option will not only make materials more available but will also increase delivery in times of need.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the existing supply chain lacks tolerance in the event of pressure, such as the current one. The pandemic has shown that sourcing and manufacturing need to be refocused while domestic manufacturing and reshoring also needs to be given a thought. There is no lack of technical abilities and know-how; there has been no motivation to do it. In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the responsible agencies need to plan for future threats by building resilient supply chains.
Supporting a robust manufacturing base is highly crucial. This can be seen from countries that have grown economically over the years. The growth of these economies has been largely due to strong manufacturing industry. To maintain competitiveness, countries, including the growing economies, need to reinvent their supply chain processes to ensure that manufacturing is healthy. This will keep the costs low and ensure that production is efficient. In the US, for example, high precision and high-quality manufacturing need to be developed in near areas where certain products are needed the most. Domestic manufacturing will benefit communities near these areas by creating jobs. It will also bring money to local economies while at the same time shortening the delivery journeys.
The overreliance of the US on other countries to supply products or components that are needed to manufacture certain products is a recipe for disaster going by the happenings of the current pandemic. As it currently stands, the country cannot withstand disruption on the supply routes and cannot be able to produce products domestically to meet the needs. As such, there is a need for resilience and redundancy to be built in the country’s supply chain so that the country can quickly respond to any situation and meet the need of society.
The only way to make the supply chain resilient is by adopting technology. Manufacturing and supply chain technologies allow innovation and automation, that boosts efficiency, security, and reliability. It also helps solve the skills gap that the manufacturing industry has faced over time and is projected to worsen as demand keeps rising.
While technology has shown immense potential, shifting from a centralized supply chain is another way the current problem can be solved. Doing so will reduce costs and reduce the distance that products have to be shipped from manufacturer to the consumer.