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March 7, 2024

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What the Supply Chains Looks Like in Future?

March 2, 2024

After all the turmoil, what supply-chains might look like.

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What the Supply Chains Looks Like in Future?

What Is A Supply Chain

Let's say you are building something, and you need an M10 nut. You might not have it at your home in your storage. Instead, you go to a hardware store to buy it. First link in your supply chain for M10 nut is your own storage room. The second one is the hardware store. Here ends the supply chain that is visible for you. Since the hardware store probably didn't manufacture the nut you bought from there, it most likely came from a wholesaler who bought it from either bigger wholesaler or from a nut making factory. Sometimes these chains for items are very long and involve shipping by sea, land, or air. Many things happen in each step of the chain. So they are also vulnerable to multiple things going wrong.

Also supply chains of food items are now longer than ever, thanks to globalization. It's not uncommon to see e.g. caught fish flown to China for processing and then back to the originating country as a final product sold to customers. For a long time salmon caught in north-western parts of the USA has been frozen and then flown to China for processing and then back again to the USA or other western countries. All the logistics of this operation is a fine-honed machine that needs to work to the exact detail because the food items transported and handled are highly perishable. These systems involve complex IT systems to get it to work properly.

What happens if e.g. ransomware attack or other kind of cyberattack messes this system. Well most likely the problems wouldn't show to the customers right away but if many cyberattacks occur in multiple places of this highly efficient system then the consequences are that you the customer don't get food to your table or the food is more expensive.

Threats To Supply Chains

There can be multiple threats to supply chains. One of them we have already experienced in the form of the pandemic. During the pandemic supply chains were messed up because lock-downs. People couldn't go out from their homes to their workplaces in factories and offices. Logistics was somewhat hindered because of restriction on meeting people. Another threat to supply chains are the aforementioned ransomware and cyberattacks. Computer-based systems just stopping from working and telecommunication stopped due to containing the spreading of the problem. Third threat is conflicts and wars like the situation at the red sea which is mostly hindering the usage of Suez canal and therefore making the travel time ships back and forth from Asia to Europe much longer. All of these things can separate you from your daily meal or getting the crucial M10 nut to fix your car or farming equipment.

Grandma survived the great depression because her supply chain was local and she knew how to do stuff.

Fixes To The Problem

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Possibility for a global long-lasting supply chain problem is still quite low even though it has risen in recent years. Best way to fix these problems is to prepare for the situation that you might not always have everything available, and it might take long times and/or cost a lot to acquire.

Grow Your Own Food

One way to help make sure you always have something to eat is to grow your own food. In more rural areas it's quite common to have a vegetable garden, but it can also be done in urban areas. This can be achieved through urban agriculture which is supported even by US Government through USDA. Of course, it's hard to grow and harvest all of your food especially in urban surroundings, but also the small things count in this issue.

Buy Used Items

For tools and gadgets you should buy and use old used items. They are already transported to your local area and are available in-case previous owner is willing to sell it. You don't have to wait some tool to be transported from a factory in China. Use what is already near you.

Old people usually have hoards of old stuff because they were used to this fact that everything isn't always available. When something broke they first fixed it multiple times and when it was unfixable they didn't throw it away the stored it somewhere or parted it and stored the parts somewhere. When something else broke they used parts from that old thing to fix it.

Buy Better Quality Items

If you don't want to buy some gadget every year after the old one broke down and is unfixable, buy better quality items. Usually items of better quality last longer and are easier to fix. But remember, price doesn't equal quality! Pricier items are sometimes done with less quality than the cheaper ones to maximize profit.

Store Non-Perishable Items

One way to prepare for supply chain hiccups is to store larger quantities of the everyday items you use. Use should buy more of the non-perishable food items that you use daily, so you have bigger stock for a rainy-day. Rotate that stock constantly, and you never have expired items in your stock. This way if for some reason you can't purchase these items for longer periods than normal, you are not in a emergency. But remember to replenish the items when they are again available or consider using other similar things.

Future Of The Supply Chain

In the future supply chains will become shorter, maybe not as short as they were in the ancient times but definitely shorter than they were at the peak of globalism. The things that can be more easily produced by individual people are going to be produced locally. This mostly means food and simple tools. More complex things like computers are still going to be manufactured in factories far away, but also their supply chains are going to be shorter. The silicon used in processors are going to be recycled and local sources used. It also means that the more complex items are going to be more expensive. Also people are going to start help each other out in neighborhood level and start trading goods and favors.



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