ISM's report found one of the primary challenges for procurement managers is not only managing suppliers (53% of survey respondents reported having problems getting information from their Chinese supply chains) but accessing the containers to move goods in the first place.

"We've got a bunch of stranded container ships in China that haven't been coming to United States and we can't export from here to demand in the China market," Derry told Supply Chain Dive in an interview. "What I've been hearing, for example, is there is a lot of citrus that leaves from California this time of year to meet demand in China and in other places in Asia, and there aren't enough refrigerated containers to send that product over there ... you only have a small window to do that."

Slowdowns at ports, while starting to pick back up, and high airfreight rates are causing experts to estimate that freight flows won't begin to normalize until April.

In addition, newly announced flight restrictions from the EU are projected to shrink air capacity even further.

In the meantime, whether procurement leaders have been prepared for COVID-19 disruption, Derry believes the current situation should be an industry-wide wakeup call to the need for more regionalized supply chains, with supplier backups, and advance scenario planning to increase resiliency in the future.

"I think the lesson that ought to be drawn from this is always that the best price on your part comes with a hidden cost, which is the risk of supply disruption. And companies are realizing, 'Okay, it's a great part price, but if there is a supply disruption having to deal with that can be an issue,'" Derry said. "So, I think you'll see this will be an accelerant to move ... closer to the end customers and ... companies will not be as willing to put all our eggs in one basket."

Topics covered: logistics, freight, operations, procurement, regulation, technology, risk/resilience and more.

Topics covered: logistics, freight, operations, procurement, regulation, technology, risk/resilience and more.

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Topics covered: logistics, freight, operations, procurement, regulation, technology, risk/resilience and more.

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