The recent COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how peaks in consumer demand can occur with little warning. With hand sanitiser, toilet roll, pasta and flour amongst the products that have disappeared from the shelves of the world’s supermarkets as a result of panic buying. But spikes in demand don’t only occur when a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic sweeps the globe. Manufacturers should be aware of the possibility for unexpected peaks and troughs to occur with little warning, as well as pressure on the supply chain, which is vulnerable to extremes of weather, celebrity endorsements and shortages of raw materials, among other factors. Ultimately, this is where supply chain management software can shine.
Like the species in a food chain, over-demand for a particular product can have a knock-on effect on other products. Panic buying for essentials, or anxiety about the economy, can dissuade people from purchasing ‘luxury’ items, leading to a fall in demand for items that ordinarily would prove popular. Thus, a spike in demand for only a few product lines can have significant effects on the entire supply chain.
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