As a society, we all are on a transformation journey right now. In the last year alone, we had the trade war between China and the United States, protests in Hong Kong, and various climate change events, which created unforeseen problems. Just a few weeks ago, we all were living our usual busy lives. Now, things normally taken for granted—an evening with friends, the daily commute to the office, going out for a movie and dinner with the family —are no longer possible. Daily reports of increasing infections and deaths across the world raise our anxiety and, in cases of personal loss, plunge us into grief. There is uncertainty about tomorrow; about the health and safety of our families, friends, and loved ones; and about our ability to live the lives we love.
Apart from the real impact on human lives, there is a fear about the severe economic downturn that may result from a prolonged battle with the novel coronavirus. According to the United Nations, the COVID-19 outbreak could cost the global economy up to $2 trillion this year. Among the various industries across the world, Travel and Tourism has been impacted the most. This sector currently accounts for 10% of the global GDP and approx. 50 million jobs, which are presently at risk.
Besides Travel, Manufacturing, Distribution and Supply Chains across the world are being impacted significantly, and thousands of people are losing their jobs. Most of the Supply Chains in today’s ecosystem are Fragile due to lack of resilience, too much rigidity, limited digitization, lack of transparency, and consolidated centers of production.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded corporate decision-makers that there is a need to develop new business strategies in their future supply chain designs. For years, the manufacturing sector has mastered the art of JIT manufacturing, which allowed them to increase efficiencies and lower the cost of their supply chain; however, it also leaves supply chains less resilient to sudden shocks and supply shortages. The KPIs to be considered for future supply value chain designs will likely contain both traditional metrics such as Cost, Quality, and Delivery, and new performance measures included RESILIENCE, RESPONSIVENESS, and RECONFIGURABILITY (3R’s).
At Course5, we work with some of the large, global, and eminent Retail and CPG brands who are on their transformation journey and had the right ammunition in place to fight this crisis. As a part of their transformation charter, they invested heavily in the digitization of their supply chain operations, leveraged the power of cross-functional data, and introduced Machine Learning and AI (Course5 Discovery – An Augmented Analytics Platform) to create an Insights-First culture in their organization.
In the end, it reminds me of a recent Wall Street Journal editorial that suggests that; we may soon face a dilemma, a terrible choice to either severely damage our livelihoods through extended lockdowns, or to sacrifice the lives of thousands, if not millions, to a fast-spreading virus. We disagree. Nobody wants to have to make this choice, and we need to do everything possible to find solutions.