One of the biggest impacts caused by COVID-19 has been the disruption to the global supply chain—an unprecedented rift that has been felt around the world. Suddenly, dependable suppliers have gone dark, established transportation routes no longer exist, export restrictions are in place, and costs have gone through the roof.
What had once been a stable and predictable model no longer works, and as a result, shelves are bare and many businesses face an uncertain future.
Since the arrival of COVID-19, many of us have worked with our customers, helping them in their recoveries while bearing witness to some pretty amazing stories.
As we prepare for the next phase of COVID-19, it’s important to recognize the lessons we are learning along the way. Not just the worst-case scenarios, although these definitely serve a purpose, but also the best-case scenarios — the unsung heroes and their aspirations to reinvent how they work and ultimately beat the pandemic.
Manufacturing: Pivoting Production Lines
Some manufacturers have been cautious in their approach, simplifying their supply chain and—as a result—the goods and products they offer.
Other organizations have been bold. In fact, since COVID-19, we’ve witnessed an uptick in interest by manufacturers to transition their existing operations to a digital model in the cloud. Rather than slowing innovation, the pandemic is accelerating it, incentivizing visionary leaders to evolve their businesses so they can overcome the challenges that lie ahead.
Many manufacturers are motivated by a desire to help their employees, customers, and the world. Some businesses have completely revamped their production lines to help relieve shortages in respirators, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and other life-saving products, at a time when frontline workers – and the rest of the world – need it most.
With technology in their corner, these manufacturers have been able to evolve their supply chain operations so they can:
- Identify the best potential outcome before taking any action
- Adjust to changes in the supply chain without negatively impacting profits
- Make reliable decisions in the moment to minimize downtime and maximize productivity
- Communicate and collaborate with all stakeholders for a coordinated effort and outcome
Based on a collection of customer stories, we’ve created an immersive experience for Manufacturing, providing examples of what companies are doing in the COVID-19 era. The use cases cover supply chain, agile operations, empowered workforces, and customer engagement.
View the supply chain storyline to see one example of how manufacturers are making their operations more resilient to counter the impact of COVID-19.
Retail: From Warehouse Door to Front Door
Let’s not forget the final mile of the supply chain journey: when the customer receives their goods. For retailers this is the most important step because without it, the transaction stalls and so does the payment.
With stores and outlets closed indefinitely, many retailers must think strategically. Once again technology will be the differentiator. With a cloud-based data-sharing platform, retailers can leverage real-time visibility into available inventory so they can quickly fulfill orders and assure customer satisfaction.
Today curbside pick-up and home delivery are the norm, all done in accordance with social distancing and other regulated guidelines. Demand for these services continues to grow, spurred on by people working from home and those who are unable or unwilling to shop in public.
By leveraging technology for the last-mile solution, retailers are able to:
- Simplify complex inventory management
- Deliver a flexible omnichannel shopping experience
- Increase buying, collection, and return options for customers
This is one of several use cases in our immersive experience for Retail, which showcases how businesses are using technology to overcome the unique challenges we’re facing in the midst of the pandemic. The stories cover real-time traceability, the last-mile challenge, customer loyalty, and the 360-degree customer experience. See the last-mile challenge storyline for more information on the above scenario, and how retailers can deliver customer satisfaction through the pandemic and beyond.
The Future of Supply Chain
In these Manufacturing and Retail scenarios, technology is playing a key role in the survival of each business. The ability to transition operations to the cloud, consolidate and analyze data, access it in real-time, and make important decisions in the moment are all key ingredients in their success.
Explore the future of industries with our immersive experience, and see how additional journeys can help transform your business.