Although the pandemic introduced a great deal of pressure on SCM, it also revealed an excellent
improvement opportunity. Furthermore, every one of the challenges discussed earlier also poses a perfect
opportunity for improvement. The top SCM opportunities will be analyzed below. Expanding on these
opportunities does not mean that there are no others. These are some general, current areas of opportunity
in SCM and a starting point for further thought.
Collaborations within sectors: similar to the notion of borrowing some sugar from a neighbor to make a
cake, this opportunity is practically the same between neighboring supply chain systems. If there is a
sudden shortage or malfunction in one of the stages that can be accommodated by another company's supply
chain system or even sector that shares the same stages and resources, collaboration should be encouraged.
Helping others does not need to mean that we are compromising our gain. It can mean that we have allies to
lend us a hand (literally, if the issue is human resources shortage).
Technology has been one of the top
supply chain management opportunities for
years, as technological advancements, process automation, and eCommerce have changed SCM as we knew it.
With all the focus on online shopping and online marketplaces, technology is still a great, not yet fully
tapped SCM opportunity. The Covid-19 pandemic made many companies rethink and redesign their online
presence and shopping platforms, bringing eCommerce to the forefront of attention. Enterprise resource
planning integration across supply chain stages can help save a lot of time, human resources, and
ultimately, cost, creating seamless and updated connections that otherwise would require a lot of hustle.
Similarly, investing in robotic systems can be a way forward for improved and streamlined SCM.
Focus on expansion: expansion is an area connected to technology, but a great SCM opportunity, especially
for eCommerce SCM. With flexible options that allow ecommerce platforms to follow the lead of the
customers, a company can expand or contract upon request without significant investment. Furthermore,
collaborations can help in case of need and lead to new markets with the aid of established partners.
New channel and distribution strategies: there is always room for improvement in product development and
distribution, as both areas are interconnected to the end-users and their needs. Being unable to freely
access physical stores and specific products primarily related to healthcare created SCM's opportunity to
introduce new distribution strategies to accommodate the new conditions.
Disruption preparedness: if there is one thing this pandemic taught us, it needs to be prepared,
especially in the healthcare sector. This need applies to SCM, as it revealed weak and vulnerable points
on established and well-greased supply chains. Technology can play an important part here, connect stages
online, improve visibility, and assist with SCM maintenance in remote areas.