The impact of COVID on supply chains

The global Coronavirus pandemic has challenged the modern global supply chain like never before. Supply chain resilience has conventionally focused on protecting largely against single point failures – for instance, identifying a key component and dual sourcing to ensure continuous supply. But COVID-19 has had a truly global impact, where many supply chains have faced multiple fractures – at component suppliers, at manufacturing sites and in the ‘last mile’ to the customer. It is difficult, if not impossible, for firms to have redundancy across all those operations and still maintain efficient supply chains. Which makes it ironic that we are relying on a particular global supply chain to get us out of the crisis – namely, that of the COVID -19 vaccines. The first is product development. All of the vaccines so far approved for use, and most of those under development, require multiple doses to be fully effective. Others require ultra-cold supply chains. These product design aspects have had huge implications downstream, as health agencies and governments work out the best way to distribute, administer and schedule follow-up doses.

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