Insights & News

With Coronavirus Affecting Capacity, Now is the Best Time for Shipping Managers to Reimagine Their Supply Chain

The word "Innovation" spelled with the cord from a glowing light bulb

Posted On May 15, 2020

Have you ever tried changing a tire on a moving car?

Probably not.

It is about as risky as getting between an early morning shopper and the last package of toilet paper. It is far, far easier—and less dangerous—to make repairs while the vehicle is safely at rest. The same is true for supply chains. Reimagining your supply chain while continuing to keep up with heavy customer demand can be difficult—even when the weaknesses in your transportation program are clear.

Sadly, shipping departments are far less busy than they were a few months ago.

Many industries are facing historic—if temporary—reductions in demand. No one would call that good news, but there is a silver lining. Depending on how hard the pandemic has hit your industry, it may be the perfect time to strengthen your supply chain to face the challenges of coronavirus, and the opportunities that will exist in a post-coronavirus world.

Throughout American history, economic downturns have happened for a wide variety of reasons. The Panic of 1893—which was the country’s worst recession until the Great Depression—traced its roots to the failure of a wheat crop in Argentina. Economists still debate the cause(s) of the Great Depression to this day. The failure of overvalued internet companies caused the recession at the beginning of this century. The Great Recession resulted from a distorted housing market and questionable banking practices.

Why the history lesson?

While each of these downturns were different, the years and decades that followed share a common feature: sustained, explosive growth. In fact, some of America (and the world’s) most productive economic eras follow sharp downturns.

To quote Harvey Dent in the 2008 movie The Dark Knight, the night is always darkest just before the dawn. Your company and your supply chain may experience its darkest moment this spring—but the economy will rebound. While there will be a “new normal,” the “new normal” quickly becomes just “normal”—and within that normal the world’s entrepreneurs and business leaders will do what they have always done.

They will innovate.

They will create demand for new products designed specifically for the new normal. Twenty years ago, the domestic market for baggage X-Ray machines and body scanners was much smaller than it was before September 11, 2001. Then tragedy happened, a new normal was born, and within a relatively brief period of time the economy was growing, and shipping managers were having to move x-ray machine parts and body scanners to new markets across the world.

Human beings are resilient, resourceful, and capable of turning even the darkest moments into an opportunity to face tomorrow with a sense of hope and optimism. Shipping managers can face reinventing their supply chain with the same mindset, and as a result prepare themselves for demand and opportunity to return stronger and better than ever before.

Flat World Global Solutions is here to help your shipping department seize that moment and prepare your supply chain for an inevitable return to high demand and full capacity.

Until then, stay healthy and stay safe

And stay innovative.