Pandemic sheds light on weak links in inventory strategies

May 5, 2020

MultiBriefs Exclusive – Gail Short

In the weeks after COVID-19 began sweeping across the United States, the pandemic succeeded in revealing chinks in the country’s retail and manufacturing supply chains.

Some supply chains simply broke. Stores quickly sold out of items like hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, toilet paper and paper towels, to the frustration of many anxious consumers. Meanwhile, lockdowns in the industrial city of Wuhan, China, where the virus was first identified, disrupted many American manufacturers’ and other industries’ access to suppliers in the area as shipments of raw materials suffered interruptions and delays.

Many factories and retailers use an inventory system called the just-in-time (JIT) method to save on costs and, in the case of factories, to support lean manufacturing practices. But in light of the recent disruptions to supply chains due to the coronavirus pandemic, some experts say it is time to review current supply chains and inventory processes like JIT.

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Categorized in: In The News