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What the new COVID-19 variant Omicron means for supply chains

What the new COVID-19 variant Omicron means for supply chains

Unlike when COVID-19 or its other variants were first detected, it only took days following the first detection of the Omicron variant for it to begin popping up around the globe. Labeled by the World Health Organization as a ‘Variant of Concern,’ still much is unknown about this new threat. From how effective current vaccines will be to how quickly it will spread, very little is certain. But considering the impact that other variants and their accompanying surges have had on supply chains, it’s looking like more bad news for an already overwhelmed industry. 

Even before the Omicron variant emerged, global supply chains were hanging by a thread. Labor shortages, factory shutdowns, port congestion and low trucking capacity paired with elevated consumer demand — especially leading up to the holiday season — have all taken their toll. And throwing any new complication into the mix, let alone a potentially deadly new variant of COVID-19, is wearing that thread even thinner.

But for those who have already learned and adapted to the shifting challenges of keeping their supply chain systems running during a pandemic and previous variants like Delta, the effect may not be so severe. “Given the experience of Delta, factories, ports, shippers and trucking companies know where the bottlenecks in the supply chain are most serious, and will thus be able to more gracefully work around them in the next wave of the virus,” Mark Zandi, whose research is frequently cited by President Biden, told MarketWatch.

Zandi also pointed out that “in response to the supply-chain chaos created by Delta, businesses throughout the chain are aggressively investing money in new equipment and software, which should reap some benefits in future waves.”

The longer the supply chain crisis continues, the more likely it is that businesses will begin to rethink their shipping services and logistics software. For companies like these, the right TMS solution can make all the difference.

“Our shipping and visibility technology platform has put our customers in a good position to weather this storm,” says Jason Traff, President and Cofounder of Shipwell. “And because it’s cloud-based, it can help companies navigate future market disruptions while also de-risking their infrastructure spend.”

During black swan events like COVID-19, resilient supply chains are not a luxury — they’re imperative. With an uncertain future and so many factors beyond our control, now is the time for customers and shippers to have supply chain solutions that put power back in their hands.

To learn more about how Shipwell can help you to gain the agility needed to navigate the challenges ahead, view our on-demand webinar on the five lessons COVID-19 has taught us in building resilient supply chains, or schedule a demo today.