Technology will be at the heart of the supply chain

In varying degrees, the COVID-19 crisis affects all industrial sectors. Given the demand and capacity, Gurelan has not stopped the production of zamak, magnesium and lead parts for all kinds of sectors, as well as their marketing and distribution. However, the industrial sector must expect a large-scale change in its global supply chain. The solution lies in technology.

Technology will be at the heart of the supply chain

The coronavirus pandemic is not the first – nor the last – major perturbance to global supply chains. For example, the devastating tsunami in Japan in 2011 kept the automotive industry reeling for months, while flooding in Thailand affected the supply chains of many tecnological sectors dependent on hard disks.

Today´s logistics: effective, but vulnerable to change

Today, supply chains and logistics networks are highly developed and represent a vital factor for the competitiveness of many companies. However, their global interdependence makes them increasingly vulnerable to a wide range of risks, given the growing number of aspects susceptible to potential failures and their reduced margin of error when dealing with delays and market disruptions.

For decades, the efforts made by companies like Gurelan to optimize their supply chain have led to lower costs, lower stock levels and optimised asset utilization. However, in many companies and sectors, the crisis generated by the COVID-19 has highlighted the need to recover that flexibility to cope with delays and extraordinary events.

How will new technologies optimise our supply network?

Traditional supply chains will soon give way to digital supply networks based on technology, allowing a broader internal overview of each company´s supply chain planning. In this way, the coronavirus epidemic will make us advance towards integrated logistics systems with an integral vision of the process, promoting collaboration, reactivity, agility and optimisation of all resources.

Developments in information and communication technologies have made the evolution of supply chains more realistic than ever before. Technologies such as Internet of Things, cloud computing, 5G networking, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and robotics are all essential to conceive the digital supply network of the future.

How to implement a smart supply chain?

The particularities associated with creating a smart digital supply network vary from one sector to another, and even between companies in the same industry. Nevertheless, not only does the network need to be aligned with the established business strategy, but it must be taken into account when developing this strategy. In addition, risk management will be a fundamental part of its design, considering risk management and business continuity as an integral part of an overall business strategy.

In this sense, after the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re likely to see a repatriation of critical industries, the optimisation of global supply chains as well as the return of several manufactures, such as medical devices and pharmaceuticals which will, in turn, lead to a change in the domestic warehousing and logistics landscape.

For example, trucking is responsible for the movement of 80 % of the world’s goods. After coronavirus, further diversification will also come in the form of distribution, with a greater reliance on rail or intermodal shipping to reduce dependence solely on road transportation.