Now more than ever the COVID-19 is causing business owners to reevaluate and realize that a well-designed supply chain is a powerful weapon. It’s all about knowing where your stuff is coming from, where it is going, and how it is getting there.  Liesl Limburg, Acting Manager of Corporate Recruitment and Retention had a chance to sit in on the recent Utah Leads Together webinar on Supply Chain.  Here are the key takeaways:

Supply chain fragility is harming our small businesses because non-essential items are being priced out of the market as suppliers are holding off on shipping those items in an effort to meet the demand for “essential items”.  They are losing inventory with few backup/ domestic production options. Blank sailings (not to capacity boat shipments) are not as frequent which is delaying shipping times. Air cargo is more expensive than ocean when shipping from overseas. We can expect to see reshoring efforts to move production closer to the brands.

To recover, industry partners recommend:

  • Develop relationships with everyone in your supply chain asap.
  • Utilize technology, understand the data to forecast more accurately.
  • Map out your entire supply chain – utilize experts to help you map and understand where your materials are at every stage.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis of your supply chain and distribution network.
  • Provide more support and safety for our local trucking industry.

COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the current supply chain model that will likely cause it to move towards a demand chain model.

Demand Chain is a position that Utah is well suited for because of our geographic location and our transportation infrastructure. The demand model:

  • Brings manufacturing as close to the brand as possible
  • Reduces product waste because companies can produce better need-based project models
  • Brands are able to order inventory they can sell and don’t lose money on storing unused product/ paying for product that will not be used.
  • Companies are able to order product amounts as close to the consumer needs as possible.
  • This model is more rational and agile than a supply chain model
    • Supply chain is driven by what is currently available
    • Companies suffer from a supply chain model during times of crisis because of production and shipping uncertainty

An Opportunity to Lead on Tech

COVID-19 forces us to examine a weakness with the entire supply chain – transparency. It is a massive, inefficient system riddled with interdependency but there is no transparency. Industry leaders encourage all partners to participate in data programs that will help create that visibility, to share information seamlessly through a network of factories wherever they may be located on the globe. Salt Lake City and Utah can take that leadership role and promote the development of these technologies that support advanced manufacturing, communication, and automation.


Support Local Truckers

The trucking industry could be key to keeping the economy afloat. Drivers are putting in long hours but their main concern is safety, and where to get rest and food. There are now fewer options for truckers to eat and park when they take a break. Securspace is one such solution (much like Airbnb did for the hospitality industry) to help provide parking to those who need it but also to create found revenue sources for those who may have excess land. It’s about being able to help those who have the resources continue to afford and maintain those resources and provide a safe and sanitary work environment for the drivers who need to find that space and in an online digital easy accessible platform.


Our entire supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And right now it is definitely fragile, but also very fluid. As a country and a State we have proven our resiliency and innovation and what we are focused on now, to overcome our co-dependencies and move toward the future of an efficient demand chain model.

Here is another great resource from Modern Materials Handling who is tracking things the industry is doing in response to the global pandemic crisis.  And as always World Trade Center of Utah is an excellent resource for importing/exporting assistance.

Want to learn more?  The Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development is your go-to resource for assisting your company, to help connect you to resources.

Contact us today:  (801) 535-7200