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While addressing the now and planning the next, organizations must also consider the lasting shifts that could be the legacy of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing an unprecedented social, economic, and business response. But once a sense of normality inevitably returns, what will “normal” look like?

For Globalization and trade, automation and additive manufacturing offer promise as global supply chains lose some of their lustre

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how vulnerable globally integrated supply chains can be. Specifically, a model in which businesses rely on a single supplier or a handful of suppliers concentrated in one country now appears particularly fragile.

In the medium term, the pandemic will drive risk-mitigating procedures designed to track employee health, reduce human-to-human interactions, and upgrade ventilation and physical barriers. Companies could gain a competitive advantage by adopting emerging automation technologies such as robotics and AI vision systems.

In the world beyond the crisis, the response to COVID-19 could accelerate the transition to approaches such as additive manufacturing (3D printing), which has the potential to deliver significant advantages in speed, cost, precision and materials. This, in turn, might enable new or reshaped business models not just in manufacturing but associated sectors such as logistics. It may also cause businesses to move from offshoring to near-shoring and even reshoring of production. This could boost the anti-globalization trend that has been visible for the past few years.

In summary, like all crises, the pandemic will bring out the best and the worst in us. At a time when companies are being called on to assume a broader societal role, business leaders can lead by addressing the urgent challenges ahead. At the same time, they should keep an eye on the many changes underway in the global economy, which will together shape the new normal beyond the crisis. Read more on COVID-19’s lasting impact here

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