Before the pandemic, most people had little to no understanding of what a supply chain was, or how it operates. Now, because the topic is in the news almost nightly, people are understanding how easy a supply chain can break, and how it can impact them personally. From toilet paper to vaccines, people are learning that a supply chain is a very complex intertwined group of processes that can span the globe.
While many of us saw the supply chain break and at times shatter (as with the need for PPE), there were many other examples where the supply chains of companies like Ford show how amazing their teams can be. In about 4 weeks, the engineering group at Ford was able to meet with an existing ventilator partner, engineer, and start buying 700 different components to start producing ventilators at factories that previously produced cars. I work at a candy company, and we would NEVER be able to start running a new product in less than 6 months, let alone 4 weeks. It's times like these that we realize why we need smart people in the supply chain. We normally don’t get the glory of doctors or politicians or professors, but without strong supply chain teams, we would see a lot of our needed products disappear. ANY product that is produced (whether by animal or human), needs a supply chain.
My hope is that this pandemic helps people, politicians, and corporate leaders realize how important their supply chains are, and to invest in improving them. The place to start is by investing in the youth of this country and increasing their interest in careers in this field. As more people join this field, the stronger it will become. While some supply chains can turn on a dime, as we learned with the pandemic, most cannot and we need a lot more smart people to help this to change.