A few weeks ago, we wrote about the impact of the Coronavirus epidemic on Supply Chains – specifically, how the emerging crisis in China had placed new pressures on companies importing finished goods and raw materials from overseas.
In that post, we wrote: “an epidemic striking at the heart of global manufacturing is a stone thrown into the ocean of the global economy, and the ripple effects are sure to be felt downstream. In the west, they may just be starting.”
There are over 35 million cases and over 1 million deaths due to the Coronavirus pandemic as of the beginning of October, 2020. In many countries they are still experiencing the first wave of the virus. Yet in many other countries they are either expecting or experiencing the start of the second wave of the virus. What are the Supply Chain priorities to deal with the pandemic?
As the first wave struck in early 2020 unprecedented levels of personal and business disruption was experienced by most everyone. Toilet paper and basic commodity items disappeared from store shelves as panic buying set in, in the face of the unknown.
Now that we face the prospect of a second wave of the virus, how should Supply Chain professionals focus their time and energy?
There has never been a moment in time since the second world war, that there has been so much global awareness and need for resilient and dynamic supply chains, and the qualified Supply Chain professional is there to manage them; in a single strategic battle toward a common enemy.
If you didn’t realize that before the pandemic, in either your personal lives or at your company, more people certainly understand this adage now. Cash is King!
Without cash you cannot run your household and you cannot keep your business open.
The pandemic has made this a very real concern for everyone. Businesses are locked down so they are not able to generate the revenue to pay their expenses. As such many businesses have laid off employees, even if temporarily, to cut their expenses. And a record number of people have lost their jobs, even if temporarily, and as such they can’t even pay their bills.
Despite the numerous government support packages businesses, as well as individuals, need help on how to aggressively manage their cash flow just to survive this pandemic.
What are some cash management tips to help businesses manage their cash flow at this critical time?
Disaster Recovery Planning and Risk Management processes are foundational elements of any effective Supply Chain operation and strategy. For those who have ignored putting these mechanisms in place you are assuredly now in deep trouble with the Coronavirus situation at hand.
The effectiveness of both these tools enacted by Supply Chain crisis leadership skills are being tested to a historic degree by the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Given that the epicentre of the Coronavirus is China, the leading manufacturing output country in the world, and given that the virus is cropping up all over the world, every industry and its associated Supply Chain is impacted.
The spread of the Coronavirus has sent shock waves around the world. As of early March, 2020 there are over 100,000 cases and over 3000 deaths.
While the virus originated in China, where the majority of the cases are, there are now almost 100 countries declaring they have at least one case in their country.
Increasingly governments and companies are taking actions to shut down operations, cancel events, restrict travel and movement, quarantine people and more in order to mitigate exposure to and spreading of the virus.
Most important in this matter is the health and well being of all people. Secondarily the economic impact is enormous. Supply Chain disruption on this scale will impact everyone.
Given all of this people should be working from home wherever and whenever possible to reduce the chance of exposure to the Coronavirus. This is the future of work.
The Coronavirus pandemic has upended almost every aspect of our personal and business lives. And now we hear talk about this “new normal”.
The economic and personal turmoil has been unprecedented. But with uncertainty around the future spread of the Covid-19 virus and uncertainty about the arrival of some kind of vaccine there is increasingly talk of a new normal.
A new normal implies a significant change from our ways of living and doing business as compared to how we lived and worked before we heard of the Coronavirus.
The decision by President Trump to tell 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada and Latin America is astonishing given that all of humanity is facing the same crisis.
Supply issues started with chronic shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and food goods of all kinds. Store shelves have been emptied of the most basic items that we all take for granted.
And then it quickly evolved to shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our Healthcare professionals. The very people whose tireless efforts and personal sacrifices on the front lines of this pandemic don’t even have the basic equipment they need to do their jobs while protecting themselves and their patients.
I never knew what an N95 mask was, nor did I know that there were actually national stockpiles (now proven to be insufficient) of these masks and ventilators and other PPE.
Trump’s action with 3M raises questions for any country about what their Strategic Stockpiles should be and whether future sourcing decisions and actions should be based on parochial nationalistic needs or magnanimous global needs.
The Coronavirus situation has now been declared a pandemic. With over 750,000 cases, over 36000 deaths the expectation is the number of infections will continue to grow at an incredibly rapid rate.
Countries and companies are taking extreme measures. Millions of people have been quarantined, travel has been restricted if not prohibited, and events of all kinds are being cancelled or deferred.
The economic and Supply Chain impact has been, and will be, enormous with employees unable to work, factories shut down, and modes of transportation idled in record numbers. It will take enormous intelligence and expertise to get the Supply Chain back on track throughout, and after, this crisis.
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic the need for complete, end to end Supply Chain visibility has never been more important!
The necessity for visibility started with store shelves being emptied of toilet paper, food, and various household items. People were panic buying in the face of the unknown implications of the pandemic. More and more countries and jurisdictions were locking down their citizens, temporarily shutting down businesses and enforcing social distancing and self isolation.
The chronic need for Supply Chain visibility has become of utmost importance with the overwhelming strains on global healthcare systems and networks. Hospitals and support organizations have been running low on masks, personal protective equipment and ventilators.
Most alarming is that projections of the heightened demand for these items are not met with broad visibility as to the supply and inventory of these items.
Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic the talk of a settled “new normal” gives us hope for stability and a return to what was before. But for whatever sense of past normalcy we aspire to this experience equally conjures up our sense of post-pandemic impermanence – or that our lives are constantly in a state of flux to which we must sense and adapt.
For supply chain professionals, supply chains and our underlying assumptions will certainly need to adapt. In many critical supply areas, such as biopharma, the now famous PPE, and high technology medical devices, not just calls, but screams for re-examining supply lines and explicitly, our reliance on China.
This reliance began decades before for reasons that made sense then, but those assumptions and rationale have come into question now. The topic is high on the agenda of supply chain professionals as they plot the course forward.
Who could have guessed that 2020 would see the spread of a global pandemic?
As the Coronavirus spread around the world it upset virtually every aspect of our personal lives, our jobs, businesses and economies. No one or no thing was immune from the impacts of the pandemic.
Front and centre in this pandemic has been Supply Chain. Never before has Supply Chain received so much visibility and recognition of its importance. That’s because disruption in the Supply Chain has exacerbated the impacts of the Coronavirus to our lives, both personally and professionally beyond the immediate issues of our health and welfare.
We created a series of articles in 2020 focused on all aspects of Supply Chain and the Pandemic. In our latest “Featuring” series we present our 15 top pandemic inspired articles.
As the general public transitions away from crowded public spaces, delivery has gone from being a convenience to a necessity. Over the last few weeks, we have worked with business leaders around the world, discussing how to best meet this growing demand, while ensuring driver and customer and delivery safety.
A year of dealing with the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus, combined with another tough year ahead, has created an environment of Pandemic fatigue of the highest order.
Children have had to stay at home instead of going to school. Adults have had to work from home, or worse yet, are at home because they either lost their jobs or had their work hours cut. Going to the store to get the basics has meant seeing empty shelves, long line ups, curb side pick up, mask mandates, and social distancing reminders everywhere.
Businesses have been closed, forced to reinvent their ways of going to market, and restructured just to cling on and hope for survival.
And even with the approval of vaccines the poor initial rollout suggests that it is going to be a long time yet before we can go back to some state of normal.
The overarching strategy for limiting exposure to, and spreading of, the Coronavirus is that of Social Distancing. We are all instructed to keep 6 feet apart from anyone, wear masks, and avoid any social gatherings and don’t touch. How does this relate to a Don’t Touch Supply Chain strategy?
Even with social distancing, the global lockdowns, temporary closures of many businesses and disruptions of economies everywhere there are still Supply Chains in action, as disrupted as they may be.
Truckers are still moving goods to points of consumption and essential services such as grocery stores are still in operation, providing the basic goods we all need to live. Everyone involved in these Supply Chains is abiding by the social distancing and protective mandates we all are adhering to.
How can Supply Chains be changed in the future to make them more robust and resilient and less disrupted by any future catastrophes, and god forbid, a future pandemic?
One approach is to develop and deploy Don’t Touch Supply Chain strategies!