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2020 Material Handling Year in Review: COVID’s Impact


The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide reaching effects across the globe, impacting all of our day-to-day lives in numerous ways. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to predict when the pandemic will finally come to an end. But, if one thing is for certain it’s that things will likely not be the same again — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Because of pressures exerted by the pandemic, companies and associations across all industries have shown their ingenuity and commitment to continue delivering critical goods and services to consumers. They have worked hard to implement a wide variety of initiatives to ensure supply chains continue operating and employees are kept safe. It’s been extremely inspiring. We are proud of the material handling community and our collective ability to collaborate and keep the world running as best as possible.

As we wrap up this strange and disruptive year, we wanted to take a look at the some of the positive trends that the COVID-10 pandemic has started around the material handling world.


Companies are considering new technologies for their supply chains.

We are seeing a massive acceleration of automation and digitization timelines for supply chains around the country. This is in large part due to the fact that COVID has exposed inefficiencies and vulnerabilities in supply chains that effect both companies and consumers. Instead of companies needing their supply chains to run efficiently to stay competitive in their respective industries, the pandemic made it so consumers needed supply chains to run efficiently so people can stay healthy.

In light of these vulnerabilities, more companies are accelerating their timelines for pursuing new technologies like automation and digitization. These transitions will ultimately lead to greater flexibility and in their supply chains, making them — and subsequently consumers — better equipped to handle disruptions like COVID in the future.


Companies are turning to “nearshoring.”

Most people are familiar with the turn offshoring, and as such you’ll likely be able to deduce what nearshoring is. It is quite simply the process by which a company transfers operations closer to their “home” regions. COVID-19 has been impacting the material handling industry in a way that nearshoring is gaining popularity in the United States. This regional, local sourcing of manufacturing and logistics services is a huge boom for the economy. This investment in local infrastructure will lead to greater security in turbulent times in the future.


Companies are focusing on worker safety.

Worker safety has always been a top priority in the material handling industry. That being said, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that companies are looking at their worker safety protocols. PPE, deep cleaning, sanitization, temperature checks and social distancing have become commonplace. In addition to these preventative measures, a lot of companies have also made the switch to more flexible work schedule, work from home options, staggered work shifts and adjusted facility layouts to decrease the likelihood of worker’s being exposed to the virus. These measures and the commitment that the material handling industry has made towards prioritizing worker safety has been a key factor in keeping the world’s supply chains running and will overall improve the quality of work across the industry for years to come.


Thank you for a wonderful year.

This is our final blog post of 2020! Thank you all very much for taking the time to tune into CCS’ blog articles. We hope that you’ve found them as educational and informative as we find them fun to write. Best of luck in 2021 and happy holidays to you and your family!

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