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  By: Samina Sarawala

Jul 6, 2020

7 lessons learned from covid-19 on Digitization and Supply Chain Management

Covid-19 has taken the world by a storm with economies failing, large corporations declaring bankruptcy and small companies struggling to keep alive. The distance between countries has become more profound as offices have shut down, manufacturing processes have been affected, and supply chains have halted. Your business will never look the same, with over 74% of organizations planning to shift a part of their workforce to remote work permanently. 

While you can’t change what has happened or is currently happening across the world, the important question is what can you learn from this? Here are 7 learnings you should definitely take away from the current pandemic – 
A laptop with an ecommerce business homepage on a table

1. Online is the way forward

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 6 months, you know how important digitization has become for the economy. With brick-and-mortar businesses shutting down, many small-time shop owners and retailers have gone online. 

To be honest, this change has been a long-time coming. With the majority of individuals having access to smartphones and the internet, you have consumers everywhere in the world. Your next customer might not have even visited Canada, let alone live here. Digitization breaks barriers and allows you to build an eCommerce business that has no limits.

2. Be flexible and adapt quickly

When Covid-19 spread in Wuhan, the supply chain of most companies took a sudden hit. With no more incoming production, they had to quickly re-align their strategies and find new ways of making their products available to their customers.

A business that is open to change and can adapt quickly to the changes in the market will always come out at the top, irrespective of the situation. This could be in terms of adapting your sale strategies, your marketing tactics or even tweaking your product.

“Small eCommerce businesses are finding their foothold in the market by employing the services of a 3PL that can take care of their supply chain logistics.”

3. Never put all eggs in one basket

Most eCommerce businesses faced severe consequences when the virus began in China. Since maximum production comes from the Asian sub-continent, it was difficult to keep up with demand when their supply chain wasn’t working like normal. 

With logistics stalled and shipping services suspended, many companies faced bankruptcy. Now, companies are lowering their burden on countries like China, digitising their supply chain, and focusing efforts on building alternate processes.

4. Remote work can be productive

Prior to the pandemic, remote work was almost frowned upon. However, the belief that physical presence equals greater productivity is now being challenged. With everyone working from home, the world is getting used to the new normal. A better work-life balance has made people more efficient even as reliance on technology increases. 

Small eCommerce businesses are finding their foothold in the market by employing the services of a 3PL that can take care of their supply chain logistics. Virtual events are on the rise and Zoom meetings have almost become as normal as breathing.  A hand inserting a coin in the mobile payment gateway

5. Digital payments are here to stay

Technology has enabled a world where you can receive payment from anywhere in the world within seconds. An eCommerce store means that your customers can order from anywhere in the world, pay online and shipping services can ensure that your product reaches them. 

Having a digital payment gateway on your store has become as important as having an online presence. They’re quick, easy, secure, and here to stay. 

6. Go local

The one thing that businesses have learnt from this pandemic is that being local has its benefits. A supply chain that you can manage anytime, and will not be affected by things happening on the other side of the world has its benefits. 

Business owners till now have been working around with limited production and inventory status since the supply chain wasn’t completely in their control. Partnering up with a local supplier, a homegrown 3PL and a shipping company that’s available to take care of all your needs can go a long way in easing the burden of an eCommerce business.

7. Have a Plan B

You really can’t plan for everything. Breakdowns in your supply chain, absence of inventory, unforeseen pandemics - there is so much that can happen. That’s why it's important to have a Plan B. 

What happens when your supply chain disrupts in China? No problem, you have a local supply chain right here in Canada. What happens when you have too many orders coming in and not enough resources? No problem, your local 3PL will take care of it all. What happens when you have to ship multiple packages to the US? No problem, a shipping company with a fulfillment centre in the US will come in handy. Planning for contingencies and having a Plan B is always smart.

The Next Steps

The world is changing rapidly and those who fail to adapt will find themselves out of business. As an eCommerce business, it’s important to assess how you can find your footing in this pandemic. Whether it’s with finding the right shipping company, or by reducing your supply chain dependencies, it’s up to you. If you’re looking for a shipping company that is not just the perfect 3PL partner, but also has fulfillment centres in the US, and the most competitive shipping services and rates in the industry, try eShipper. Request a free quote today, and get started.

Samina is the Digital Marketing Manager at eShipper and specializes in helping businesses and ecommerce merchants understand the basics of shipping and fulfillment.