Lessons learned from COVID-19: Report aims to mitigate supply chain challenges

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

The pandemic highlighted the critical nature of the supply chain. Pic: GettyImages/MurzikNata
The pandemic highlighted the critical nature of the supply chain. Pic: GettyImages/MurzikNata

Related tags: Critical Infrastructure Supply Chain Council, American bakers association, Supply chain, coronavirus

The Critical Infrastructure Supply Chain Council (CISCC) says the supply chain challenges thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic – rather than seen as a negative – show the way to build up resilience for future crisis response.

The pandemic undoubtedly disrupted commerce across the world, particularly highlighting the critical nature of the supply chain. The baking industry – like other critical infrastructure sectors – has been no less affected by these challenges, notes the American Bakers Association (ABA), which is an executive committee member of the CISCC.

According to CISCC – a coalition of nearly 100 trade associations representing a wide cross-section of the global supply chain, formed in March 2020 – the experience has highlighted the difference between a disaster and a catastrophe.

It adds this essentially came down to the ability to deliver critical supplies and services to consumers - especially those in need - "to guard against the civil unrest that would doubtlessly follow real shortages”.

A new report from CISCC​ takes a deep dive into the real time issues that arose during the pandemic, along with the consequences of inaction should we have to face another major crisis. Contending the success of supply chains can be best measured by what has and hasn’t happened, CISCC provides suggestions to mitigate future disruptions.

“The next crisis that threatens the movement of goods and people could be another global pandemic – or an incident such as biowarfare. It is critical that we consider what we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how we can ensure that we are better prepared for the next crisis,” says CISCC.

“The pandemic’s lessons must inform how policymakers maintain America’s critical infrastructure and protect its essential workers in times of crisis.

Lessons learned and real time actions

The CISCC recommends the US government – stakeholders such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Governors Association (NGA) – work with its international counterparts to maintain the steady flow of critical imports and exports necessary in a global crisis.

It is also calling for a universally accepted definition of essential critical workers, noting the current crisis had thrust the private sector into adopting ‘do-it-yourself’ solutions that hampered production and delivery of much-needed products.

It also highlights the need for employers to address health concerns among employees as new waves of the coronavirus or its variants continue to hamper daily life.

“Taken together, these recommendations would build supply chain resiliency for future crisis response,”​ says CISCC.

Kelly Knowles, ABA VP of Political & State Affairs, says the report represents the culmination of months of work.

“Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic are crucial in supporting state and federal lawmakers as they work to preserve America’s critical infrastructure and protect its essential workforce in times of crisis.

“From interstate commerce, credentialing, to private and public communications and beyond, this report not only outlines specific obstacles that critical industries faced during the pandemic but offers concrete solutions and recommendations on how to address those challenges moving forward.”

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, COVID-19

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