Global Supply Chains

What are Global Supply Chains?

"Global supply chains are networks that can span across multiple continents and countries for the purpose of sourcing and supplying goods and services. Global supply chains involve the flow of information, processes and resources across the globe1. "

Global supply chain has the advantage of sourcing from low-cost country. It has the advantage of  procuring  services and products by locating the countries with comparatively lower labor rates and also low production costs.  Thus, the  suppliers may be  located anywhere on the globe.

Critical features of Global Supply Chains

Some identified characteristics are:

Another set of characteristics are:

Benefits of Global Supply Chains:

It is feasible to quickly source, products with the highest standard of quality and efficiency at a good price. This benefits the firms to reduce inventory and save costs in many ways, especially  storage,  probable thefts and frequent transporting of goods etc. It facilitates easy procurement of almost any item,  anywhere from world as the chain never sleeps. It gives an opportunity for organizations to learn current trends in  doing business, effective production methods,  and  optimal distribution methods as they interact with multiple global vendors. 3

An Example of Global Supply Chain process:

The following visual shows a narrative of global supply chain process cycle:

Challenges posed by the Pandemic on Supply Chains:

84% of organizations are reportedly feeling the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  It was an established fact that, many companies are reliant on Southeast Asia, other low-cost jurisdictions, especially  production and supplies in China.  Trade analytics have analyzed that, China lost global export market share at quick pace  in 2019, as many companies moved to outside of their country. The disruption is particularly acute in the pharmaceuticals, metals, electronics and automobile industries,  consumer and industrial products. 10

Operational disruptions caused by   the effects of reduced supply need to be mitigated. Disruptions to logistics suppliers has to be managed.  Meeting contractual obligations to customers is high priority. 4  

Diversifying Supply Chains in Asia Pacific and Beyond, The Shifting Investment Landscape during COVID-19, Shock Proofing Supply Chains  – these podcasts can be accessed for more better understanding5.

Low-cost production is moving mainly to Mexico and Vietnam. The gain is seen at Vietnam’s clothing and Smartphone exports.

Mexico’s automobile parts and computer exports also showed good growth 8

Gartner, Inc. has developed three prevaccine scenarios to help chief supply chain officers and other leaders of supply chains and logistics networks anticipate how the future may unfold.  

 The three scenarios:  

Scenario 1 – Short-term disruption

Scenario 2 – Long-term disruption

 and Scenario 3 – Secondary crisis.7

Changes forecasted in Global Supply Chain:

Trade wars emerging out of aftermath of Covid, changing global politics with bigger Nations and allied emerging new national policies are bound to  influence the future of supply chain structures.  Companies will be increasingly considering China +1 strategy.  Other countries need to focus on investments to boost manufacturing capability. 

The winning strategy will be when they can provide attractive offers for labor, land  and logistics. Free trade agreements (FTAs)3 also need focus.

Companies need to go digital and translate it into movement in the supply chain9. They also need to develop second sources or additional safety stocks and rethink scale and product mix.


When the organizations are flexible, they have a strong risk assessment program, intelligent decision support systems and are demand driven supply system. Next generation supply chains can thrive in even the most challenging and competitive environments.2

In the post Covid scenario and industry 4.0 initiatives, new technologies like augmented reality and advanced analytics are sure to bring positive and influential changes in global supply chains.



Prof Subrahmanyam V Yeditha

Specialities: Quality Management and Accreditations, Project Management, Analytics, Curriculum Building, Content Development and Quality Reviews, Research in Micro learning aspects.

Prof Subrahmanyam is known for his commitment to ensuring quality higher education in Technology and Management faculties. His focus is to integrate practice and theory in teaching and content building. He prefers to be with the learners closely to share the practical aspects of each of the concept as it is applied in real life and its need and advantages. He is keen to build new course curriculum to keep the learner contemporary and confident.

Prior to joining IFHE, he was a research scientist at Indian Space Research Organization; India, Corporate Education and Training Specialist at CMC Limited, Quality Head , Management Representative and Vice President at Danlaw Technologies Limited, Director of Aurora PG College.

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