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Letters

LETTERS: Improve supply chains for economic recovery

Cargo trucks
Cargo trucks at the Port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

During this period of Covid-19 all industries that contribute to the country’s economic growth e.g manufacturing sector, agricultural sector, health sector are experiencing supply chain vulnerability.

In the health sector for instance we have seen the government move swiftly to source for healthcare equipment e.g personal protective equipment, ventilators, testing reagents and testing apparatus.

The horticulture industry has not been left behind since no much business is going on in our export countries such as Europe due to the lockdown to contain the spread of Covid–19. Still there is no inter-county trading in Kenya because of partial lockdown as one of the major mitigating measures to contain the coronavirus in the country.

This has also led to many job losses in the country. The pandemic has caused a lot of disruptions in supply chain and has left it more vulnerable than never before.

Consequently, Kenya’s economic growth remains more vulnerable to the external environment, locally, regionally and globally,. Supply chain can be very intense to the productivity of the manufacturing sector globally and this complicates the working business environment for lean and flexible global operations.

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Currently, growing supply chain complexity of managing global supply chains has left many customer needs and requirements unmet. For this reason, many organisations are more vulnerable in terms of their operations and economic threats from the external environment.

The supply chain resilience is likely to play an important role in socio – economic recovery in Kenya. Building strong supply chain resilience can help reduce supply chain complexity and overcome risks through developing strategies that can help the supply chain recover to its original functional state following a disruption.

These strategies can be used to build a strong supply chain, namely, supply chain re - engineering, strategic sourcing, integrating global supply chains, risk awareness, operational flexibility, agility and strategic supplier partnership or collaboration among others.

As the government puts up post Covid -19 measures to revive the country’s economy, building a strong supply chain resilience is one of the most important measures it should consider. Such resilience will help the manufacturing firms manage risks and ensure enough supply of raw materials.

This will in turn increase manufacturing performance hence supply chain performance in terms of effectiveness, efficiency profit maximisation at a production cost.

Kenya’s economy will thus be turned into 24 hour economy by making manufacturing firms produce the goods and services 24/7.

Continuously manufacturing will make goods and services readily available to the customers since retailers like supermarkets will operate 24/7,aping what happens in the western countries here you can walk into a supermarket anytime of the day and night to get supplies. This will also create more employment opportunities and maximize customer value and competitive advantage hence improvement of supply chain performance.

Therefore all stakeholders such as International Monetary Fund, World Bank Export Promotion Council, World Trade Organisation, UNCTAD etc. should work towards a common goal building strong supply chain resilience which is main contributor of economic growth.

This will revive and build local, regional and global economy thus achieving Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to transform the world.

Collins Musyoka, lecturer, Mount Kenya University.

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