Supply Chains: Challenges in the New Reality
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Reducing delivery times of products sold through digital channels and maintaining different supply and distribution options to face scenarios of trade restrictions are some of the challenges that companies face in this new business reality.
In Central America during 2020, companies had to adjust quickly to the demands arising from the health crisis caused by the covid-19 outbreak, as restrictions on consumer mobility and face-to-face sales were continuous.

In this context of changing habits, in which e-commerce gained ground in the region's markets, supply chains were tested and companies were forced to learn as they went along.
Research by CentralAmericaData shows that in Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras, interest in e-commerce services rebounded in January 2021 and in El Salvador and Guatemala, the number of online searches associated with the topic has not reported significant variations in recent months.

For Diego Barreto, a specialist in operations strategy, "... with the growth of digital channels, the ability to return items in a simple way for the customer becomes more important to build confidence in these transactions. Other businesses can generate savings and minimize their environmental impact by recovering packaging and raw materials to circulate in their production."

The article published by Barreto in details that "... customers in the digital era want to receive their products quickly without paying too much for shipping to their home. To meet this demand, some businesses such as Pedidos Ya have established Dark Stores (Efficient Distribution Centers), where they can fulfill their customers' orders more efficiently."

In a region like Central America, it is normal for social or political conflicts to impede land freight operations. For these scenarios of uncertainty, Barreto recommends maintaining different supply and distribution options (mostly local) becomes crucial to be able to react to any change in the environment.

The specialist adds that "... the use of digital and intelligent tools, such as inventory optimization with predictive analytics, become more important in order to make quick and informed decisions in the face of changing demand conditions".

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