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June 2, 2021

Supply Chain Trends and Careers Post-COVID 19

The pandemic caused unprecedented shortages in a variety of goods, with limits imposed on many for months into COVID-19. What happened? Issues in the supply chain.

“COVID-19 was simply a trigger as opposed to a cause,” said Jack Buffington, professor of the practice and director of University College’s Supply Chain Management program at the University of Denver. “There’s some underlying weaknesses that exist beyond the numbers. Some trigger was going to set it off.” 

Pre-pandemic supply chain systems were built on scale and cost. They operate very efficiently when all is running smoothly; however, the worst thing that can happen to them is variation like COVID-19.

Disruption in both supply and demand across the world, exacerbated by the long-tail nature of the system, caused unprecedented variation in the global supply chain. According to a study from the Capgemini Research Institute, 80% of organizations said their supply chains were negatively impacted by the pandemic, and 66% stated their strategy would have to change significantly to adapt.

Going forward, it’s imperative that the supply chain be built for resiliency and scalability rather than capacity. This means that supply chain professionals will be in high demand to help systems meet the new normal.

“To solve this problem, we need to restore principles,” Buffington said. “The focus is on short-term benefits. We used to have these principles that focused on structured problem solving, engineering, math, etc., and we don’t have them anymore in the supply chain. That’s something we need to change.”

These skills, as well as critical thinking and relationship-building skills, are all the foundations of the Supply Chain Management graduate program at University College at the University of Denver.

To learn more about earning a graduate certificate or master’s degree in Supply Chain Management, visit

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