The early days of the pandemic sent shockwaves through global supply chains, affecting nearly every aspect of manufacturing and consumer goods delivery. A perfect storm of factory closures, materials shortages, and unpredictable spikes in consumer demand served as the ultimate stress-test for many manufacturers.
Supply and demand fluctuates, but usually in predictable intervals, such as during the holiday season. But manufacturers typically build some slack into their production cycles to accommodate for those ups and downs. The pandemic, on the other hand, came along so suddenly and was so immediately disruptive that it caught many manufacturers flat-footed. According to recent EY research, 57 percent of US companies experienced serious disruptions, but only 2 percent were actually fully prepared for the pandemic.
The pandemic one of the most significant tests in history of our national supply chain, which has seen an increased reliance on just-in-time manufacturing over the last few decades. Part of this shift has meant a gradual move to products being produced and delivered right where they're needed, right when they were needed, and in just the right quantities, as opposed to warehousing huge stockpiles of inventory. This contributed to some high-profile shortfalls during the spring, like the toilet paper shortage.
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