Expanding domestic production of certain goods deemed essential to the public interest—medical supplies, for example—may be an enduring impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re only going to come out better on the other side of this, once this is all said and done.”

—Seckin Ozkul,
University of South Florida

Companies and buyers that depended on components or finished materials from China, for example, found themselves facing supply chain delays that challenged the public health response to the pandemic. And according to University of South Florida faculty member and supply chain management expert Seckin Ozkul, while companies often model out supply chain disruptions such as natural disasters, the scenarios they run often examine disruption only for a particular region—not worldwide disruption. “Every company right now is looking at their supply chain and thinking, ‘How can I diversify it further?’” Mr. Ozkul told Business Insider  in May.

While some businesses, including Ford and GM in the U.S., pivoted to producing ventilators, face masks and/or other medical equipment and personal protective gear to help shore up dwindling supplies, a lack of coordinated domestic plans to deal with international supply chain disruptions has renewed calls worldwide to build in supply chain redundancies and accelerate adoption of technologies such as additive manufacturing (3D printing) that can allow more flexibility in what gets produced where and when.

“We’re only going to come out better on the other side of this, once this is all said and done,” Mr. Ozkul said.

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of IQ Insigniam Quarterly, with the headline “Sea Change.” To begin receiving IQ, go here.”

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