Research reports

Navigating Challenges: Minnesota’s Food and Agriculture Manufacturers and Processors Supply Chains

This report illustrates the impact of the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID) on supply chains for Minnesota food and agriculture manufacturers and processors. A collaboration providing services to Minnesota food and agricultural economic sectors wanted to better understand the supply chain effects of COVID, the resulting pain points and what may be needed to help identify potential new services, resources and supportive actions that would improve supply chain resiliency for Minnesota businesses.

Based on 114 respondents, located throughout Minnesota and representing a wide range of businesses and sectors, the pain points included challenges that resulted in supply chain disruptions, market and sales losses, labor shortages, and bottlenecks. Companies had to make difficult decisions and navigate destabilized supply chains to ensure financial viability. The inconsistent availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and product inputs furthered supply chain disruptions.

The COVID crisis impeded food and agriculture supply chains, yet they did not break. Companies used creative, innovative strategies in stabilizing their businesses. Respondents agree that resiliency needed greater consideration for supply chains to weather future crises. Resilient supply chains require collaboration, partnerships, and breakthrough innovations. Building a resilient supply chain requires collaboration across many entities, as moving towards greater vertical integration can be expensive, especially if there is a trade-off in terms of resiliency.

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