Challenge of supply chain affected by Covid 19 pandemic | By Munawar Iqbal 


Challenge of supply chain affected by Covid 19 pandemic


THE IT industry in Pakistan is faced with the acute and unprecedented problem of supply chain disruption and interruption following global shortage of goods and services affected by Covid-19 pandemic.

The main victims of this disruption are computer chips, laptops and accessories that have considerably raised the prices as well as pushing back the delivery times jeopardizing the business activities in the country involving clients and stakeholders.

Besides, continuation of the long-term and short-term lockdown in the country is another blow to the IT trade industry already faced with the issue of supply chain by manufacturers and distributors in the country.

There is rising demand of the consumers in the public and private sectors who are pressing for the delivery of the IT products at their thresholds in time as before to meet their pressing needs and requirements.

Prior to the pandemic, the supply chain process was taken for granted by the business entities with business as usual having some short spell of delivery problem but that mentality has changed now and things look very complicated and it is hard to make the customers understand the phenomenon of disruption of supply chain.

As a matter of fact, the supply chain comes from thousands of miles across continents and oceans.

It’s amazing when you think about all those moving parts and how efficiently that’s worked for us as part of a global economy.

There is another element relating to this problem, the shortage both in workers and in parts combined with transportation bottlenecks due to lockdowns that have all combined to keep us from our goods and services.

But the phenomenon of supply chain disruption no matter how minor can set off a chain reaction through the rest of the supply chain process but something to consider is also the technology involved.

Other external factors relate to shipping slowdowns, factory and store shutdowns, clogged ports and worker shortage have also forced retailers to seek out solutions for moving product in time for buyers.

The collective problems of rising consumer demand, elevated commodity prices, global supply constraints and higher wages are driving inflation.

With increasing globalization, supply chain networks are becoming more easily disrupted. Firms encounter emerging socio-economic and political risks, such as manufacturing reshoring.

Moreover, changing tariffs and international trade conflicts contribute to more disruptions in operations and supply chain management.

Still the pressure is high for manufacturers to compete as the cost of moving containers have risen six times higher than a year ago and the cost of production of chip is being increased by as much as 20% due to higher material costs by the manufacturers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and has brought life to a standstill affecting every aspect of our life as a whole from living, travelling, interacting and communicating with each other.

The entire world is engulfed in a never-ending lockdown bringing every institution, be it in private or public under the banner of closure forcing people to reschedule their work plan both at home and in their work environment.

Governments are confused on how to bring and revive things with usual normalcy, as before but it has taken the toll of heavy expenditure in kind and cash in managing the affairs of the state and responding to the demands of the time.

The pressure is building up to save and maintain every life and livelihoods of the citizens with provision of goods and services amid supply chain specter.

Continuing fallout effects of COVID-19 virus variants has put the government in some doldrums on how to safely move forward like opening of schools and businesses; how to commute and travel without transmitting or contracting infection, how to support those most affected by the crisis – the millions who have lost their livelihoods or their loved ones.

It is imperative for the governments to make available the best information and quality data available to support the decision making process during and after the crisis.

The Corvid pandemic crisis has outreached every aspect of our lives from economic, health and education leaving nothing to be left unturned.

The collective problems of rising consumer demand, elevated commodity prices, global supply constraints and higher wages are driving inflation.

The solution lies behind gaining a deeper understanding of how advanced technologies, innovative business models, and collaboration can help management and operations to enhance the performance, responsiveness, and resilience of firms and their supply chains.

Despite the difficulties faced by the Government of Pakistan in managing the supply chain problem affecting the life nationwide, the IT sector has managed to earn a US $2123.035 million by providing different information technology (IT) services in various countries during the fiscal year 2020-21 showing the growth of 47.44 percent when compared to US $1439.970 million earned through provision of services during the corresponding period of fiscal year 2019-20.

— The writer is a prominent IT businessman, founder chairman of Pakistan Computer Association and former Senior Vice President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.