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Supply Chain and Inventory Management Trends 2020-2021: A Grainger Report

Interviews with supply chain experts in November 2020 showed how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted inventory management. Grainger spoke with academic researchers and shipping executives who envision a high tech future for the industry as the shift towards automation and real-time data accelerates.

COVID-19 Challenges for Inventory Management

Supply Bottlenecks: When everyone’s bidding on the same PPE supplies, businesses without a sourcing strategy will feel the crunch. 

Staffing Shortages: At many operations, key staff members were stuck in quarantine and social distancing forced teams to spread out on the facility floor.

Outdated Forecasts: Old data couldn’t predict the new normal.

Three Trends on the Horizon

Shorter Supply Chains: Emerging technologies like 3D printing are moving production ever closer to the point of consumption.

Trading in Digital Assets: Untethering intellectual property from physical products lets value move seamlessly around the globe.

The Internet of Things: Integrating new tracking technologies will allow supply chains to make instantaneous intelligent decisions.  

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.