Despite facing numerous upheavals inflicted by supply chain disruptions in the last decade, most companies still found themselves alarmingly unprepared for COVID-19. When the outbreak began in China, the disruptions were significant and far reaching but 70% of organisations did not have a clear sense of what parts of their supplier network were affected. Instead, they were still in a “data collection and assessment” mode, manually trying to identify which of their suppliers had a site in the specific locked-down regions of China. The effort was exponentially complicated as countries around the world went into various stages of lockdowns and restrictions and supply chain experts spent several months reacting and responding.
In contrast, companies that invested in supply chain risk management tools, particularly mapping their supplier networks, had a different experience. They were able to conduct what-if analyses for different regions as the first few cases emerged and were able to work with suppliers in these regions preemptively to protect supply lines.
As the pandemic ramped up, companies that had mapped their supply networks down to the second-and third-tier levels could quickly see a complete picture of how the evolving crisis would affect their supply chains in the weeks or months to come. This identification of specific areas of failure helped companies take action before the disruption hit. COVID-19 highlighted that mapping is essential for building resilient supply chains for the future.