Our CEO, Mick Curran, discussed the importance of strong and robust supply chains have proven to be through lockdown due to COVID-19. Mick told Lorraine Courtney, ”Like any chain, it’s only as strong as its weakest link. Covid-19 demonstrated the robustness of our supply chains in Ireland. Every evening the shelves of our supermarkets were restocked. Not only were the shops restocked, the vital raw materials for all our industries were also continually delivered, but this also allowed productions to continue”
Read the full article, published on July 19th
As we have learned in the last five months since the onset of COVID-19 into Ireland, the supply chain is omnipresent, every item we consume is produced and delivered to us the consumers is done so as part of the supply chain. Like any chain, it's only as strong as its weakest link. COVID-19 demonstrated the robustness of the supply chain into this country, every evening the shelves of our supermarkets were restocked. Not only were the shops restocked, the vital raw materials for all our industries were also continually delivered, but this also allowed production to continue. The millions of goods that move daily in to, out of and around this island are all planned moves, these moves are executed based on assumptions that in 99.9% of the time hold true. When an event such as COVID-19 hits some of these assumptions will not hold up. This is where the M in SCM comes into being. SCM is about the management of the supply chain, when it's business as usual, the incredibly complex moves that are carried out daily, are made to appear simple, they are not. When the supply side shock, such as COVID-19 hits the complexity of these moves increases exponentially. It is in this space that the professionalism of the sector comes into its own, given that the whole state is reliant on the robustness of the supply chain, failure is not an option.
During COVID-19 we saw flights in and out of Dublin Airport decrease from 700 per day to 6, this reduction in air freight capacity if unattended could have been disastrous, instead, alternative routings was found for the freight that would normally have travelled by this route. On the land and sea supply routes, the disruptions to the supply chain increased the volume of empty running. Empty running occurs when a truck delivers a load from point A to point B and returns empty, empty running suits no party, as well as making the move more expensive it wastes capacity and carbon. During COVID-19, fright operators shared resources to minimise empty running.
Without the professionalism of the sector which has largely been thanks to the myriad of educational offerings available to individuals, the impact of COVID-19 would have been from a supply perspective considerably worse, the professionalism of the sector allowed it to find solutions to incredibly complex problems in ways that did not adversely affect the consumer. SCM has in the past been a niche educational product, similarly, from a continuing professional development perspective, it has been driven by a few bodies. One of the main bodies leading the charge in the development of the sector is the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), CILT is the recognised global professional body for those working in the logistics, transport and supply chain industries, it was born out of the ashes of the first world war as a response to the some of the failures that were witnessed during the war in relation to the movement of goods. The Institute of Transport as it then was held its inaugural meeting on 22 March 2020 and began with the primary objective ‘to promote, encourage and co-ordinate the study of the science and art of transport in all its branches’. The Irish Branch of the Institute of Transport was founded in December 1952, we are part of a global network active in 30 different countries with a collective membership of 30,000.
From an educational perspective, there have never been as many supply chain management offerings available as there are now, what we are seeing is the development of more and more specialisations in the many areas within our industry. COVID-19 has brought the importance of the sector to the fore, so too has BREXIT. Our ability to move goods on and off island was put under pressure during the pandemic, this pressure will be considerably ramped up with BREXIT. Individuals looking to embark on their third level journey are now looking more closely a SCM options as indeed are mature learners who wish to move into the industry or advance in the industry. There are no magical solutions to supply chain shocks such as COVID-19 or BREXIT, the solutions are human ones, well trained and educated professionals.