All of us in manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain services can agree the last 3 months of our careers have been the most challenging months of our careers. We were disrupted in many ways, some of us in different ways, some of us in similar ways. Some had too much inventory, some had inventory that would expire, some could not produce enough inventory fast enough, some could not produce high demand inventory at all. Either way you slice it it's been a roller coaster ride.
Here are some of the facts that I've learned:
- According to Axios, 44% of manufacturers had no contingency plan on their production in China
- According to the New York Times, Chinese Pharma companies supply more than 90% of antibiotics, vitamin C, and ibuprofen. That's to name a few
- Since 2001, the United States has lost 60,000 factories.
What does this all mean? We have learned that significant reliance on vital materials from overseas is a major risk to our domestic supply chains. It shows how quickly we can be shut off from the essentials.
So here's what supply channels have learned:
1. We need to source locally: Faster turnaround times, more traceability, efficient inventory turns, and JIT production.
2. SKU Consolidation: We've learned simple is better- Manufacturers have consolidated SKU offerings, and that has trickled down the entire supply channel to the user.
3. It has no longer become a binary decision - Sustainable or Not Sustainable, Healthy, or not healthy, economical, or expensive? I believe products Made in the USA that offer health + wellness at a competitive price and good quality will win the consumer, EVERY TIME.
As we've all learned to simplify our lives over the past 100+ days, the supply channels have learned to simplify themselves. They have learned as we have learned, that complex and confusing isn't the right answer. Efficiency, localizations, consolidation, and simplification make for a healthy combination.
RJ Bianculli is Managing Director at Emerald Brand. His goal as part of Emerald’s management team is to provide everyday disposables to companies and consumers that are healthy for people and safe for the environment. As the leader of the sales team, RJ continues to drive sustainability and focuses on educating the private and public sectors on sustainable initiatives.