The Effect of Coronavirus on the Design and Management of Production Processes and Supply Chains Case Solution & Answer

The Effect of Corona-virus on the Design and Management of Production Processes and Supply Chains Case Solution


When we talk about the current ongoing pandemic; the most discussed topic is medical care, what we don’t talk about is how badly this pandemic has affected the worldwide trade, design production, manufacturing, operations and supply chain. The COVID19 virus started as a global health emergency, but now it poses severe threats to the worldwide economy, trade and finance. According to the Asian Development Bank;the projected economic impacts of the pandemic over the economy, ranges between $2 trillion to $4.1 trillion globally(ADB, 2020).COVID-19 has affected the supply chain process around the globe. Most of the manufacturing plants are closed-due to lock-down being imposed worldwide. Trade and transport ban havealso affected the supply chain system. China, where the virus initially started, is the world’s-factory for raw materials and products, and when China got affected by the virus; the supply chain systems around the globe got-negatively impacted as well.

Impact of the Pandemic on Production Systems and Supply Chains Systems and Its Solutions

China, where the first case of the virus was reported, is also the biggest industry of the raw materials and the product designs. The supply chain system of the country was disrupted as soon as the new cases started to emerge. Wuhan, China: the main centre of the virus is significant to many supply chains around the globe. The city has been the centre of the product manufacturing for decades. According to a study, among the top 1000 organizations from the Fortune Global; a total of 163 organizations have their Tier 1 suppliers in Wuhan.(Smith, 2020). Tier 1 suppliers are those, with whom these top worldwide companies directly operate their business with. The remaining 938 have their Tier 2 suppliers located in Wuhan, China.The blowout of COVID-19 has disturbed the supply chains in numerous ways, including:(Kumar, Luthra, Mangla, & Kazan, 2020):

  • Less demand for multiple products, such as: textile products etc.
  • Increased demand for some products, such as: sanitizers, cleaning products, PPE, medicines, etc.
  • Failure of multiple supplies and raw materials.
  • Trade and travel ban causing the business to fail etc.

To deal with the aforementioned issues; a production plan is necessary. Firms that are manufacturing products, need to be more resistant and more flexible to design and produce the materials that are demanded by the customers. New-age technologies like AI are acting as a game-changer for the supply chain and production industry during the pandemic. AI-based technologies are being used to generate maps that guide which place can be visited and which places should be avoided (due to high COVID-related cases) during this pandemic, an example of which is shown in the Figure 1. These maps assists the governments and management of any organization to make crucial decisions, such as: where to deploy the resources and purchase the products from and to understand the world dynamics. Corona-virus has strongly affected the supply of the products and raw materials for retailers and manufacturers throughout the world.Local economies that were-entirely dependent on China,had to stop their production because of China being badly affected by the virus. A common example of which is Mongolian truck drivers. These truck drivers suffered a great loss after they were unable to deliver coal in China due to the trade and travel ban. So the number of families that were dependent on the supply chain business with China,were financially affected by the pandemic.(MIRZAYEV, 2020).

The most prominent impact of this current on-going pandemic is that pre-established businesses have shifted their focus from their primary products to the products that are needed the most during the COVID-19. As the pandemic state increases the demand for infrequent and medical production items, such as: ventilators, medicines, PPE’s, gloves, face shields, face masks and sanitizers. During this global pandemic, some of the manufacturing giants of the industry, for example: Ford,etc. turned their production system to produce items to support and fulfill the current need of the society in terms of manufacturing ventilators. The reason for this business shift by manufacturing giants was to use their production systems for the benefit of the society, to earn profits and to cover the losses these industry giants incurred due to the pandemic.Table 1 below shows the world’s top leading manufacturing companies’operations before and during COVID-19.

Companies Industries Products Before COVID Products During COVID
Ford Vehicle Manufacturers Vehicles Ventilators
Tesla Vehicle Manufacturers Vehicles Ventilators
Airbus Plane Manufacturers Aircrafts Ventilators
Zara Fashion/Apparel Apparel Masks
Bacardi Alcohol/Drinks Rum Sanitizers
Gucci Fashion/Apparel Clothes Masks

Table 1: Companies and their manufactured products before and during pandemic(ECDC, 2020)

As the pandemic got intensified; there was a notable shortage of “Personal Protective Equipment” or PPE.Supply chain disturbances for PPE are dangerous for medical or health workers, especially for those who are in direct contact with the Covid-positive patients. Increased demand for PPE, hoarding, and misuse of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting the global supplies of PPE and so is putting the medical staff and front-line workers’ lives at risk. The overwhelming rise in the demand for surgical masks, KN95 masks, goggles, face shields, gloves, sanitizers, PPE’s,gowns and certain medicines have exhausted the supplies, encouraged the substantial price upsurges and have led to the production and manufacturing backlogs of 4–6 months in achieving and fulfilling the orders. The most significant challenge for the manufactures is to make sure that the critical PPE products are assigned to only frontline health workers, doctors and other critical res-ponders in badly affected countries.

According to a report published by WHO; around 89 million surgical masks, 76 million gloves, and 1.6 million medical goggles or face shields are needed for the COVID-19 response, each month(NewsRelease, 2020). Supply chains working in the medical sector are overwhelmed with the massive-demand for the medical supplies. To respond to the transmittable disease’s outbreaks efficiently; health supply systems should be designed to quickly and consistently source and deliver the essential health supplies, including:medicines, masks, gloves, and PPE for medical frontline workers, which are intensely needed during this pandemic.

The PPE supply chain has not been appropriately working to meet a surge in requests, due to the limitations in production and logistics. Prices of these products have heightened-significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. There is a backlog of around 4–6 months for supply orders around the world, and raw materials are running short since most of the raw materials are produced in the most affected regions of the world.Figure 3 illustrates the blockage of the PPE supply chain…………………..

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