This contributed story by Dr. Michael Feindt, strategic advisor with Blue Yonder, originally appeared in Forbes on NOv. 4, 2020. Excerpts from the story below. To see the full story

Cast your minds back to March, and it already seems a little odd that a primary recurring news headline around the world revolved around toilet paper (or lack thereof). For consumers, it represented the beginning of a tumultuous 2020 ravaged by Covid-19. For retailers and the supply chain, it proved to be an apt representation of the struggles they would go on to face and the levels of automation that would be needed to navigate those challenges.

Toilet paper — just like every food, toiletry or clothing item — became subject to chaos. Chaos in the form of store shutdowns, complete transitions to online retail, drastic buying patterns and hoarding and the global supply chain coming to a relative standstill.