How COVID Changed the Supply Chain Forever

Jul 13, 2023Blog, Environment, Supply Chain Management

That’s right. It’s a 2023 blog on COVID. It might seem strange, but our team decided it was worth diving into the impacts that the pandemic had on the supply chain. Why? Because those changes are still being felt across the globe.

While COVID may have wreaked havoc three years ago, ports, carriers, and supply chains are still recovering and adjusting after such a life-changing event. But with the bad also comes the good. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the lasting impacts of COVID-19.

Security Issues, Backups, Disruptions, and Risk Management

We don’t have to remind you that COVID-19 truly turned the supply-chain world upside down. Cargo theft had always been a concern, but with the COVID-19 vaccine in the picture, it became an even bigger worry. To combat this, shippers tightened up transport procedures (and continue to do so post-pandemic) and made sure drivers avoided stopping in the “red zone” within the first 200 miles of their journey. Massive backlogs of inventory across the world have led to even more intense competition and higher utilization of Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs).

As inventory levels rise and routes change, carriers face growing demand. This has impacted the frequency of blank sailings. However, when destinations may not be visited as frequently, securing space on a freight option that suits an organization’s needs becomes harder. That means it’s even more important to rely on trusted partnerships and industry relationships to get cargo where it needs to go.

Lastly, the pandemic made risk management a top priority for companies. It made it very clear that organizations needed to recognize the importance of formal supply chain risk management processes. This, in turn, inspired many to adopt new practices and focus on monitoring supplier risks proactively. Now, three years down the line, these policies are continuing to pay off.

Digitized Operations

Businesses that were prepared with digital capabilities experienced a smoother transition to remote work than those who were still operating with physical records. Although many organizations did make the switch to digital to survive the lockdowns, a rushed operation meant that many had to find a digital solution that worked for the time being. That means some have reverted back to physical systems, while others struggle with digital supply chain management systems that were a quick but poor match for their organization. If that sounds familiar, we encourage your organization to learn more about our TMS and iOMS services.

Still, for others, the pandemic may have accelerated digitization, but that meant many organizations wound up investing more than they had planned to make it happen. These budget constraints may still be felt across those organizations today.

For those that were prepared or simply adapted well to digitized supply chains, the next step has effectively become integrating AI and smart technology into their processes. The race is on for digital enablement and automation, with a projected 45% of supply chains expected to be mostly autonomous by 2035. For many, going digital was the hard part. Now that they’re there, expanding those services seems like the natural next step.

TOC Logistics maintains global connections to stay updated and offers reliable alternative solutions for our customers. We are dedicated to aiding and ensuring each shipment reaches its destination with as few disruptions as possible. As always, we encourage organizations who may be experiencing supply chain woes to contact our team for assistance in navigating these new but lasting changes brought about by COVID-19.


Our capable and experienced team is standing by to assist organizations and supply chains across the globe. Click the button to get in touch with our team.

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