Digitalization of the Supply Chain in Relation to the Era

  • 17 Pages
  • Published On: 18-12-2023


The emergence of COVID-19 has disrupted trade and has also caught individuals and organizations off-guard, causing disruption in the supply chain. There existed global lockdowns affecting the dainty domestic, regional and global supply chain to a crumbling stoppage. Specifically, companies had faced an initial supply chain shock that also affected the demand and more and more of nations and governments and consequently businesses. Governments, businesses as well as people consumers unexpectedly grappled to procure basic material and products, and were compelled to accost the dainty of the modern supply chain as identified by Cai and Luo (2020). As a result, there has been efforts to develop and design smarter, tenacious and more distinct supply chains, and this has been adoption and enabling of a robust digital backbone and processes that have pivoted the supply chain rapidly. In this discussion, the focus is on aspects that have assisted organizations and their supply chain partners regarding remote working, social distancing, managing the health and safety of their staff and automation in connection to the COVID-19 era.


Digitalization of the Supply Chain Management

According to studies conducted by Belhadi et al. (2021), digitalization can be depicted as the application of digital technologies to adjust a business model as well as offer contemporary revenue and value-producing conveniences, or could be depicted as a process of shifting to a digital enterprise. A digital business is an outcome of a multitude of processes of digitalization, that is, shifting from supply chains to digital supply chains and a vital step headed to digital transformation. It occurs when processes are digitized from analog to digital, and digitalization is the application of digital technologies and digitalized information to influence how work gets done, change how clients as well as organizations interact and engage, as well as develop contemporary digital revenue streams.

A study by Handfield et al. (2020) on “Corona virus, tariffs, trade wars and supply chain evolutionary design”, the adoption of the Industry 4.0 is progressive and has been sweeping through sectors across the globe, supply chain industry having not left behind, has yielded never identified innovative technologies that can entirely change the functions of a supply chain connection, organization or procurement method. Some of the benefits of digitalization of the supply chain are digitized processes as well as speed and the cost. In this case, the time taken to make strategic decisions while boosting operational efficacy are some of the aspects that the supply chain aspect been affected when they adopt technology. Here, the prices and operational costs are being fostered, where producers, manufacturers and merchants depict that with the adoption of digital technologies will result to increased sales.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, analog forms of supply chain have been crippled across the globe due to their outdated frameworks. Accountability can fail in a business if some undoubtable factors of the network have to close because of unexpected reasons. Several of the processes in the supply chain that revolve around deliveries are dependent on face-to-face interactions as well as paper-based signatures assert Ivanov and Dolgui (2020). At the same time, social distancing measures to reduce the spread of Coronavirus are in place, making it hard- if not possible- to undertake, leading further interruption to the supply chains. However, application of digital approach to these basic digital frameworks can do away with the need for face-to-face interactions, fostering business both during and after the Coronavirus pandemic.

The digitizing of the supply chain during this COVID-19 pandemic has fostered end-to-end transparency of the ultimate objective for a number of supply chain dealers, which is a vital element of attaining important efficacy gains. Belhadi et al. (2021) identified that systems adopted by organizations during this period have opened up end-to-end transparency from the raw materials to the end products, where each stakeholder of each step along the supply chain system of connection has promoted access to all information regarding trade. Digitizing of the supply chain process can enable fostered visibility and offered actual-time insights into the supply chain hat did not exist before the pandemic occurred, providing individuals along the chain complete control of the trade.

Digitalization to Promote Remote Working the Supply chain

The COVID-19 pandemic is uncovering an enormous split between high-income/upper-middle-income nations and poorer nations in computerized use and the accessibility of innovation answers to help the pandemic reaction in the store network area. Regardless of the separation, problematic advancements are empowering various reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic in organizations in the production network industry. Innovations received incorporate online medical services; blockchain-based plague checking stages; robots that convey food and drugs and that screen individuals' temperatures; online schooling stages and explicitly locally established working answers for the inventory network representatives; and advanced mechanics and 3D-printing advances to oversee social removing in inventory network business premises studies conducted by Cai and Luo (2020) depict. Store network organizations that have utilized advanced stages, huge information investigation, and AI to give effectiveness in tasks, social government assistance programs, which are frequently paid out utilizing versatile cash.

The commitment to innovate by organizations to COVID reactions fluctuates across areas and is reliant upon the presence of generally created advanced biological systems. Also, , Ivanov and Dolgui (2020) argue that their commitment is connected to their capacity to rapidly turn toward new administrations and models, and their capacity to venture into nearby business sectors and to come to the underserved in a savvier way than customary organizations where actual presence is imperative for every one of the partners engaged with the production network area.

Regardless of vulnerabilities encompassing the monetary standpoint post–COVID-19, the production network areas are relied upon to encounter a speed increase in the reception of problematic innovations and multiplication of online plans of action and stages where representatives could work in the solace of their homes as asserted by Agostino et al. (2021). The speed of the speed increase will probably be quicker in upper-center pay nations than in low-pay nations. Notwithstanding, such speed increase will mean not just expanded appropriation of advances created in top-level salary showcases yet additionally development pertinent to nearby requirements where enormous office spaces will be a relic of days gone by.

Health and Safety of Employees in the Supply Chain Sector

The most sector of the supply chain that was hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic was the hospitality value chain that entails the managements, tourisms and hotels. Shutting down of these enterprises abruptly affected other parts of the supply chain such as, catering, food services, laundry services, restaurants, transportation, etcetera as identified by Sharma (2020). However, some other parts of the sector that offered services progressed but by use of online services but in limited scale. As a result, their financial states were at crisis due to limited operations that led to layoffs and bankruptcy declarations followed suit.

It can be argued that the status of the Coronavirus pandemic is superlative. Cai and Luo (2020) claim that within months, the construct of the hospitality and supply chain framework specifically the First-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) parts has shifted from over-burden to under-burden. These statuses have been illustrated in various reports, newspapers and blogs, trying to make sense of the declination of the global supply chain, with some offering analogy of previous and present circumstances and also some videos and photographs of how the future supply chain series of actions to attain and promote the health and safety of employees as well as the outcomes will be like after the pandemic has ended. Although, there is much evidence that coronavirus will be distinct and transformative for the supply chain industry.

This pandemic has set off an uncommon interest for computerized wellbeing innovation arrangements and has uncovered effective arrangements, for example, populace screening, following the contamination, focusing on the utilization and portion of assets, and planning focused on reactions. Inside the store network industry, contact following, testing, and observation of its representatives in every fundamental piece of the general business have embraced these wellbeing measures in keeping the flare-up inside a sensible scale – were each expanded by information-driven advancements.

The part of advanced innovation keeps on developing. With an end goal to make an application that would help public and commonplace experts in adjusting resumption of monetary and social exercises with general wellbeing hazards, in mid-February in a couple of areas in Zhejiang dispatched a traffic-signal styled "Wellbeing Code," where a person in the supply chain associations providing fundamental items, for example, food and medication is allocated a red-golden green tone dependent on their wellbeing status (utilizing self-revealed internal heat level, and COVID-19 like manifestations, just as carefully decided contact history) are researched by Luedi and Liu (2020). The application has become a broadly perceived wellbeing grant to evaluate traveler laborers for common developments. Within excess of 900 million people – just about 66% of the populace – enlisted the application can possibly drive ceaseless sickness observation, contact following, and neighborhood hazard appraisal. Updates will keep on being vital as more is found out about the transmission examples of the disease.

There are two side effects of the decrease in global supply chain and trade according to Luedi and Liu (2020) on ‘Coronavirus Accelerates the Transformation of China’s Meat Supply Chain’, and these are; it takes longer for an invoice to be settled, taking back settlement of invoice to previous trend of faster settlement of payments. According to an analysis conducted, information revealed that enterprises took an average of thirty-six days to settle invoices back in the year 2019, while in the first quarter of the year 2020, the average payment terms had risen by 1-7% to thirty-seven days for an invoice to be settled.

The second side effect was the absence of orders going via the supply chain amplifying another tidal wave of contemporary orders dragging the invoices that decreased as identified by Fonseca et al. (2020). On an average week the volume of orders across the US and UK market dropped by fifteen point nine per cent since the month of March and the invoices dropped by sixteen point seven per cent in the same time. So far, enterprises are still attaining payments from orders placed before the lockdown of these countries, but over time, they are diminishing. The following months of the year 2020, the supply chain become difficult for suppliers across the world.

Social Distancing in the Supply Chain Organizations

In the same period of the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalization of the supply chain has promoted businesses and the global commerce to prioritize on the safety of its employees. It is to mean that organizations had to align their operations with the guidelines provided by the World Health Organization regarding social distancing and avoiding contact as much as possible to mitigate the spread of the virus, consequently increasing the popularity of online services and tools as asserted by Coccia (2020). The physical supply chain was halted at all cost with digital supply chain where significant precautionary measures and contactless procedures had to be formulated.

Imagine of an actual scenario like; global container transports have a long path of desk work related to them. For instance, transporting refrigerated merchandise from East Africa to Europe requires stamps and endorsements from around 30 individuals and associations that should connect with one another on more than 200 events. A study by Katz (2020) on “Economic Impact of COVID-19 on digital infrastructure”, the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has raised tension around the actual trade of records is the reason numerous transporters and stockrooms are currently recalibrating the very work processes their organizations were based on. The way that a transporter entering a stockroom would now be able to cause a multi-million-dollar interruption to a worldwide inventory network has been the impetus for a horde of interwoven security arrangements, not many of which have appropriately ensured office staff or guaranteed driver wellbeing. The makeshift estimates that were established from the get-go by stockroom administrators to secure their staff and make actual distance during the pandemic are presently being rethought to support an undertaking

For quite a long time preceding the pandemic, record digitization arrangements have conveyed genuine work reserve funds and ROI through improved permeability, accessibility, and smoothed-out work processes as researched by Coccia (2020). Past disposing of human-to-human connection and the trading of transportation administrative work in dispersion and assembling focuses, report digitization likewise drives huge reserve funds across administrative center capacities and makes the way for work process robotization. For instance, a Fortune 100 Food and Beverage organization as of late detailed a 25% transportation administrative center work reserve funds in the wake of digitizing their bills of replenishing, making an endeavor wide permeability entryway, and robotizing their paper-based work processes to promote social distancing and minimize human contact among its employees.

While the arrangement does not take care of each issue in the stockroom brought about by COVID-19, Agostino et al. (2021) confirm that it rethinks the connection between the beneficiary, transporters, drivers, and documentation for the new reality. In particular, it keeps drivers and office staff protected from contacting and contracting COVID-19 disease and productive, while ensuring business progression.

Automation in Relation to COVID-19 Era

Progressing interest in the privileged of computerized innovations has become a fundamental piece of conveying tough inventory network organizations and safeguarding long-haul business feasibility. There are a couple of arising rehearses that have been considered to meet the extraordinary impacts of COVID-19. Advanced systems, for example, speed have been distinguished to help conquered the vulnerability of the pandemic. During the pandemic, Ivanov and Dolgui (2020) identify that speed has become a basic incentive. For instance, with less limit accessible, transporters are looking to rapidly secure sensible rates to ensure satisfaction. Focusing on computerized devices, for example, AI-based moment citing administrations, is single direction intermediaries have started to move methodologies.

It has been identified by Cai and Luo (2020) that there are expanded productivity that has help workers and clients associate consistently. By distinguishing explicit errands that can be smoothed out through computerized techniques, associations in the production network have received reasonable innovation rehearses that convey amazing advantages.

Responding with spryness to production network interruptions during this COVID-19 period, the inventory network area has required an adaptable biological system that can change continuously to stay aware of fluctuating limits as contended by Jos (2020) in his researches. However, production network pioneers can't align their organizations to keep away from these interruptions without permeability to information experiences and accomplice limit. The executive's arrangements that offer constant information across the whole production network have become a daily existence preserver for some activities during the pandemic—and they will end up being the assumption post-COVID.

Putting resources into better approaches to saddle AI and blockchain advancements to catch significant information and create prescriptive bits of knowledge has been recognized to assist organizations with exploring interruptions. Advanced development isn't probably going to stop when COVID closes. Along these lines, the store network area is building a culture that propels computerized arrangements begins at the top—and requires purchase at each level as evaluated by Nandi et al. (2021). Distinguish people in associations who are supporting the correct innovations and work with their execution. Moreover, Supply chain executives are taking advantage of experts who can give an external appraisal of your current devices and present amazing, groundbreaking thoughts. There are more store network organizations searching out better approaches to address the impacts of COVID-19 and different marks of grinding, thus, the more set they up will be, the better they will be in battling whatever sudden interruptions may lie ahead.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digitalization of Supply Chain Sector

A well-architected supply chain model is upheld by spryness, manageability, consistency, and detectability. These four columns are known as startling empowering influences for which the organizations are strivings to redesign foundation according to Jos (2020). These elements can upgrade information perceivability, which can prompt improving straightforwardness across the total inventory and worth chain of the organization. Additionally, straightforwardness brings various advantages including the ability to achieve middle and long-haul manageability objectives. Expanded infiltration of the web in the supply chain during this period of COVID-19 pandemic gives the accessibility of more data brings about expanded effectiveness and lower costs for the computerized production network. Abbu et al. (2021) claim that digitalization, subsequently, totally destroyed manual intercessions and pointless cycles with has upgraded precision. This aides in expanding the improvement in execution by offering the representatives more opportunity for other key obligations. Besides, the computerized inventory network additionally offers a stage for direct joint effort among provider and purchaser.

Digitalization in the supply chain industry improved the system as it has attached the dynamic dependent on precise portrayal of costs, use, and past execution as noted by Kumar et al. (2020). Besides, it wipes out additional endeavors, for example, duplication which prompts submit comparable information by a few offices for different purposes. It likewise limits personal time as AI and prescient support assist with part disappointment. Also, to wrap things up, better utilization of worker time with less stock expense.

Attributable to the benefits and ascend in the infiltration of advances during this time of Coronavirus pandemic, a few organizations have been putting resources into the computerized inventory network. Nonetheless, the spontaneous appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic has likewise interfered with the track for a restricted period according to analysis by Kersten et al. (2017). The tale Covid flare-up has unleashed destruction in pretty much every industry, making huge changes the inventory network organizations.

Further, Remko (2020) argue that focus has shifted towards supplier collaboration in efforts to adopt and apply digital tools in the wake of the pandemic, reducing focus from manufacturing and production in low-cost nations. It is as a result of high cos of complexities of the digitalization process that are meant to make organizations involved adopt flexible approaches, where decisions have not been well been defined. The adoption and coordination required is supposed to meet all the needs of the stakeholders within the industry to be regarded a successful implementation of the digital initiative in the management of the supply chain.

Finally, according to Hoek (2020), the digitized supply chain will be faced by a modern form of risk, that is; cyberthreat as the downside of technology in the sector. There are malicious acts by people via the cyberspace on vital technological systems and they are diverse, mostly inclined towards money, political agendas or other interests. Hence the supply chain sector will invest more in the cyber security infrastructure to foster security in terms of access to, control and storage of data that promote efficiency in the operations.


The emergence of COVID-19 has affected the dainty domestic, regional and global supply chain to a crumbling stoppage. However, the adoption of the Industry 4.0 is progressive and has been sweeping through the supply chain industry yielding innovative technologies that has entirely change the functions of a supply chain connection, organization or procurement method. New administrative models such as remote working has been promoted due to adoption of advanced mechanics and 3D-printing advances to oversee social removing in inventory network business premises. Digitalization has promoted employees’ health and safety via populace screening, following the contamination, focusing on the utilization and portion of assets, and planning focused on reactions in the industry. Social distance to promote health and safety of the workforce has also been promoted due to digitization of the processes to minimize human contact. Expanded infiltration of the web in the supply chain during this period of COVID-19 pandemic gives the accessibility of more data brings about expanded effectiveness and lower costs for the computerized production network. However, digitization of supply chain sector has also been subjected to cyber threats calling for more funds invested into cybersecurity features, shifting focus from actual business operation to management of the operations.


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