Supply Chain Ripple Effects in Trinidad and Tobago

Supply Chain Ripple Effects in Trinidad and Tobago

News& Views

Supply Chain Ripple Effects in Trinidad and Tobago

Change is the only thing that remains constant in business. The ripple effect created disruptions and reduced supply chain performance. What’s Next!

 By Dr. Kevin Fleary

Just as ripples spread when a single pebble is dropped into water, disruptions within the supply chain can be far-reaching. The phenomenon of the ripple effect within supply chain networks is prevalent in recent times. Today, more focus is directed on managing risks within the supply chain to manoeuvre through forward and backward disruption propagations due to the pandemic. An in-depth understanding of supply chain risk and its effects on individual firms and the entire supply chain can create solutions for a more resilient supply chain.

In the year 2021, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, The Honourable Dr Keith Rowley stated that the global supply chain clogs at major US and UK ports will have a “very serious” ripple effect on the importation of goods to T&T. “How could we not be impacted? We are a trading country. Much of our life is import/export, so this is very serious for us, as it affects the whole world,” he said in response to questions about the importation of goods into the country as the world continues to be crippled by disrupted supply chains.

One should not forget the shocks to T&T during covid-19 now that logistics channels are reopening and trading prices begin to resemble a pre-pandemic market. The reality is we are prices takers, with very little control on our supply chains. Such a vantage point will continue to expose the business community to risk.

A ripple effect is continuous change or volatility on supply chain segments and partners that can disrupt the performance of the entire supply chain. It creates negative shocks throughout the supply chain that can be realised in changes in price, delivery times and quality of products. The importance of managing supply chain risk in Trinidad and Tobago has become paramount to the success of the business community particularly SME’s. If future risks are not mitigated, inflation will rise, labour shortages will increase, and goods/materials will become scarce. Ultimately, if supply chain risks aren’t effectively managed businesses may be forced to cease operations again.

It is critical to exercise a deeper degree of control in our supply chain of key products and materials. To ensure business continuity companies within Trinidad and Tobago should re-evaluate their sourcing strategies and centralize/localize supply chain methods to strengthen their resilience within the supply chain. Sourcing globally can effectively reduce costs and broaden a company’s access to finding new suppliers. But sourcing collectively can increase bargaining power, a much-needed strength for trade negotiations and just one strategy companies can consider and implement.

The importance of re-designing our local supply chains is significantly important as well, to curb the global sourcing challenges faced. Local and regional supply production must be selective and supportive to industry guided by government policy to build sustainable supply chains for tomorrow. In the short term to medium term, a resolution to these negative impacts is near-shore sourcing and partnerships.

Caribbean countries are investing in products and services we once relied on from international suppliers. For example, Guyana is currently exploring the idea of wheat production. Such an initiative will create a variety of wheat that is prevalent to the Guyanese Agro-processing environment. Combined regional R&D will help to increase wheat yields and give Caribbean manufacturers the choice of alternative supply with the potential for improvements in agility, effectiveness, and efficiency. Having a centralized supply chain makes flexibility difficult to attain and companies are more susceptible to supply chain disasters. Decentralization allows companies to reach a wider customer base and reduces shipping times. Additionally, customers can enjoy supporting local providers. Decentralizations increase business continuity for example, if one warehouse must stop operations due to unforeseen obstacles, having another location helps you pivot quickly in real time.

Every company is different, but it is certain resilience increases a company’s competitive advantage. Operations managers and supply chain professionals that are burden to optimize tools, designs and layout, terms, and conditions during this uncertain time.

Remember that strategic change and business alignment is critical to the success of any productive environment, to do so we require the determination to increase our control on supply chains and the vision to select product lines to vertically integrate.  Continue outing fires, but invest time to strengthen your supply chains against future shocks.


For more information about Supply Chain Management, contact Dr. Kevin Fleary at

Have a question?

Contact us for more information on admission requirements.

Challenges of implementing an ESG strategy

The benefits of an Environmental Social Governance Strategy for business

The Importance of ESG in the Caribbean

Visit the Lok Jack GSB Campus