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The supply chain has evolved significantly over the past few years. However, the current developments caused by the coronavirus pandemic have made the changes even faster than it had been anticipated. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many things starting from product suppliers, strategies all the way to supply routes. According to a study by Ocean Insights, coronavirus pandemic could result in greater collaboration and technological innovations across this industry than ever before. According to the study, 42% of the shipping and freight professionals are likely to change their supply chain strategies. Of these professionals, 67% see investment in technology as an area that will substantially alter their operations after the pandemic.

There is a likelihood of increased investment in technology as new collaborative solutions make way into the supply chain. Shipping and supply chains will be much more different from how they were a few decades ago. With collaboration and sharing of information, it will be easy to understand the best practices in the industry. This makes it easy to fight the challenges that come with the virus. If there is the right time that collaboration is required, it is now more than ever.

With the shutdowns that have been imposed on different countries, more online and remote technology is necessary to make the supply chain flexible. Technology will allow supply chain companies based on real-time events. With collaboration software, workforce management systems can be used to manage employees remotely and enhance time usage. Enhanced IT capabilities and automation will not only reduce the cost of doing business but will, in the process, increase efficiency and transparency.

For large complex businesses, changing circumstances is what necessitates change. What we are seeing in the supply chain in recent days is uncertainty and volatility, that is damaging and often leads to losses. With the changing political, social, environmental, and market impacts that have had more effects on the supply chain, customers must take over supply chains and react appropriately in the current changing times. Many existing applications that are used by customers rely mostly on legacy systems and old enterprise resource planning. However, modern applications and business activities require data, as this is critical in modern business operations. As such, there is a disconnection between the required systems and the legacy systems, most of that are currently in use, that must be addressed to eliminate siloes. With the right revolution, there is an excellent opportunity to derive value if data and intelligence can be applied to control the supply chain.

The advances in artificial intelligence, machine, and internet of things have led to the rise of machine learning algorithms and visibility, that will be highly embraced going forward. This is due to the coronavirus pandemic, that has opened the eyes of many supply chain professionals enabling them to see the inefficiencies of the existing supply chain processes. With access to vast volumes of data and increased computing power that run algorithms, new levels of visibility, command, and control are necessary.

Although the pandemic might have shut doors in different areas of the supply chain, it has opened up new opportunities, some of that will change the landscape for the better in the coming days. Some of the future developments that we are likely to see more after the coronavirus involve working from home, use of internet of things technology to monitor the movement of products in the supply chain. Also, artificial intelligence and machine learning will be an area of competition as companies look for ways to get a new competitive advantage. All of this were not so much in use before the virus struck.

Last modified on Monday, 08 June 2020
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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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