Texas Tech University

Demand disruption and channel-based supply chain flexibility

Supply Chain 24/7

May 13, 2020

Supply Chain 24/7 - Shared consumer experiences often characterize distinct time spans. Many of us can recall making our first online purchases during the 1990s. A decade later, that novelty phenomenon occurred again among consumers using smartphones. Decades earlier, the shared-consumer experience during the communist era of the Soviet Union was its bread lines. However, shortages do not only occur within poorly-executed centrally-planned economies.

When the virus is under control, and we reflect on the consumer experience we shared during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will likely recall tales of the omnipresent toilet paper shortages - the kind of thing we used to make fun of related to the Soviet Union. The pandemic-initiated bathroom tissue scarcity has been very democratic and has affected nearly everyone. The toilet paper supply chain, from tree to loo, lacked sufficient flexibility for a large-scale demand disruption.

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