Trends to watch in 2021 –
Supply chains: ensuring resiliency
COVID-19 continues to expose the fragility of global supply chains and reinforce the importance of agility and resiliency in Canada’s logistical networks. Looking ahead, the recent disruption highlights the need for ongoing evaluations of our supply chains to ensure their continued strength, including:
Pandemic-resistant supply chain networks
COVID-19 has reinforced the need for an end-to-end view of supply chains. While no sector has been immune to the pandemic, we’ve seen differing levels of disruption according to customer base, products and services, organizational structure and the level to which workers have been affected. For example, Canada’s broad logistics infrastructure held up during the pandemic’s first wave—while there were dislocations and delays in other networks, trucking, rail and air cargo continued with minimal disruption.
The pandemic catalyzed the widespread adoption of e-commerce in Canada. Large-scale retailers with agile supply chain infrastructures were able to pivot to e-commerce, while many small- and medium-sized enterprises were understandably not ready.
E-commerce will continue to be a boon to at-scale businesses with clear value propositions, and will become increasingly valuable to distributor-to-retailer and retailer-to-consumer platforms.
While the pandemic underscores the importance of agile supply chain networks in cross-border trade, it also reinforces the need to address Canada’s interprovincial trade barriers.
On a broader scale, businesses of all sizes should be attentive to how the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)—which came into force on July 1, 2020—will affect supply chain networks in the years to come.