vincent-clerc maersk

Updated 1751 GMT (0151 HKT) December 16, 2021

CNN Editors’ note: Vincent Clerc is CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk Ocean & Logistics. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

Almost everything you buy has traveled along some of the millions of miles of networks that make up the world’s supply chains. Most of the time, the logistics involved in making this possible are invisible and kept behind the scenes. But these days, supply chains are front and center as companies cope with a pandemic-induced shift in consumer behavior from experiences to goods that has left supply chains strained.

A lot of attention has focused on ports and other infrastructure, as well as shortages of trucks and labor. Those are important bottlenecks that need further investments to be fixed, but they are symptomatic of a deeper problem.

What the global supply chain really suffers from — and what is behind most of the problems today — is a lack of technology. The current technology being used has left companies and supply chain providers with little cargo visibility, a lack of supply chain integration, and hardly any ability to anticipate and alleviate problems. Giving the supply chain its own “cloud moment,” where it is completely rethought and upgraded, will improve life, not just for businesses but also for their customers.

Global supply chains have long been complex, modular and siloed networks that focused on keeping up with capacity demands and optimizing for cost, efficiency and scale. They are designed to work in a certain way and can withstand known challenges, but when tested by unexpected events like a pandemic, they are incredibly fragile. They are built for a world in balance. And when imbalances occur, which unfortunately is often the case, they are simply not resilient enough to withstand disruptions and delays. The pandemic has accelerated and magnified the challenges that already existed…

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