Who could have imagined what 2020 would bring upon the world? A global pandemic that is still raging, major tropical storms and hurricanes — so many they ran out of names — battering our coastal areas, political and racial unrest, and everyone running out of toilet paper. This year, supply chain became front-page news as the race for PPEs and essential supplies ran thin and manufacturers and supply chain professionals attempted to meet the demand. To call this a disruption to supply chains is doing it a disservice…. It was a calamity of immense proportions.
Supply chain professionals, normally behind-the-scenes people, were now front and center as the nation struggled to keep the pandemic at bay. Nightly news programs covered distribution channels, spotlighting truckers as front-line essential workers, engendering a renewed respect for these dedicated folks.
I have watched our members adjust to this new world and respond with innovative practices and improved processes. As difficult as communication has become, supply chain professionals found a way to work together. Both providers and their customers focused on how they could come together and make improvements to benefit everyone.
One of the lessons that I believe has been identified is the importance of solid, respectful working relationships. Technology, while very important, cannot replace the level of trust and reliance that comes from a good working relationship. Learning how to establish, maintain, and improve those relationships becomes our challenge as we move together into the new year.
As 2020 showed us, no one knows what’s coming down the road, but my belief is that, no matter what happens, our supply chain professionals are up for the challenge.