The world, our habits, the way we work, the way we shop is changing and it had been changing for the past decade or so. But the covid-19 pandemic has truly shocked and disrupted our lives like no other event in the recent history. It also lay bare one of our most crucial weakness, the global supply-chain.
Due to pandemic induced social-distancing measures, most people are staying home and working from home has become the new norm. Increasing need for ordering everything online has put a tremendous amount of stress on supply-chains which weren’t designed to handle such high influx of demand. The online surge of orders was a reality even before the pandemic, online retailers were struggling and optimising to fulfil consumer demands; the need for efficient and cost-effective back-end logistics had been building momentum over the past few years. But none foresaw the oncoming of a global pandemic with the potential to disrupt the entire global supply chain and create supply shortages worldwide.
This is definitely a black-swan event which is going to force many industries and companies to transform and optimise their back-end logistics and distribution models. More than 50% of the warehouses globally are completely manual and i mean ‘pencils & papers’ manual. According to a recent report by DHL, more than 83% of the warehouses use manual material transport processes internally. This approach worked fine until a decade ago, when e-commerce penetration was less than 5% and manufacturing processes were more or less set in stone.
In the modern world, especially in the post-covid modern world; online shopping will be the new staple for the majority of global population. Manufacturing processes will have to move away from capital-intensive and inflexible material transport solutions towards more sustainable, cost-effective and smarter solutions. Intralogistics will have to be optimised across the industries to accommodate erratic labour markets and consumer behaviours. Online retailers and manufacturers will have to make a deliberate effort towards reducing errors and enhancing process visibility to guide better decisions. A handful of industries had been adapting to the growing requirements already, but covid has severely shortened the timelines for adoption.