The U.S. is the undisputed world leader of the retail industry: of the world’s ten largest retail companies, five are based in the country.
The retail industry directly provided 32 million jobs for American workers (accounting for 16.0 percent of the national total), making it the largest private-sector employer in the country. Companies that will be less affected by the Coronavirus crisis include food retailers, e-commerce players such as Amazon, third-party delivery platforms and major food brands.
The U.S. is the ultimate test market for exporters and is open to all kinds of new products and technologies. However, it is very spread out geographically and new products are subject to intense competition.
COVID-19 is not the first epidemic to disrupt supply chains—SARS, measles, swine flu, Ebola, and avian flu all resulted in business interruptions—but none of these epidemics disrupted global trade and domestic supply chains as much as COVID-19.
These stresses revealed the fragility of the modern supply chain and require a reset in the design of supply chain networks to improve resilience and agility.
Supply chain resilience has already emerged at the forefront of the United States’ research and development agenda.
As it responds to the pandemic, the United States has made some moves to improve its supply chain resiliency, including provisions in the CARES Act economic relief package to investigate U.S. medical supply chains.
Now the logistics industry faces a new challenge: The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, various logistics industry observers painted a clear picture of what the sector is up against, in order to make sure things go smoothly in this generational task.
Other key vaccine distribution-related aspects to monitor, including: supply chain security being of critical importance to ensure product integrity and to enable the inoculation of the most needy people first; labor supply potentially being a gating factor, as truck drivers, warehousemen, and supply chain security personnel are already tough to recruit and retain; and the traditional retail/e-tail season will be in high gear as the vaccine distribution effort ramps up, which he said may further exacerbate the supply/demand imbalance for freight handing/transportation services.
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