The outbreak of Coronavirus has become a devastating health crisis that many countries throughout the world are struggling to control. The government and healthcare workers are working tirelessly to curb the spread of Coronavirus and treat those who have been infected. Businesses are however struggling to deal with the effects of the virus on supply chains.
The logistics industry hasn’t been spared from the negative effects of the virus. It has changed the spending habits of consumers, such as panic buying as many buyers have started to buy in bulk in order to minimize the number of times they go out. There has also been an increase in demand for electrical goods such as laptops as many employees have started working from home. We’ve additionally seen an increase in the demand for e-groceries which has led to a greater demand for daily supplies.
Businesses are struggling to produce everyday products and provide services that consumers need due to the different lockdown restrictions that have been implemented to curb the spread of the virus. Supply chains have also been disrupted due to factories being shutdown because of shortages in production materials from suppliers or their employees being in contact with the virus. This has resulted to longer waiting times, creating challenges for logistic companies.
Ways to Build Resilience
The impact of Coronavirus is likely to have long-term implications, not only on how people work, but also on how supply chains function. In order for businesses to maintain the distribution of goods quickly and safely, they will need to implement resilient strategies to cope. The following strategies can help prepare and protect businesses from the effects of the disruption caused by COVID-19.
1. Increase risk awareness
The manner in which businesses take to respond to supply chain disruptions can be critical to how they will be affected by the disaster in the long run. Businesses need to engage with everyone involved in their supply chain system including their suppliers and logistics providers in order to identify gaps. This would allow full visibility of any changes or gaps in demand or inventory in time
This will enable businesses to work with their supply chain partners to create goals and resilience strategies which could include leveraging additional networks within suppliers’ pool of production and distribution network.
Building action plans with scenario analysis can be advantageous as they can limit the effects of the disaster on the business.
2. Repurpose your capabilities
In order for businesses to survive the Coronavirus crisis, they need to evaluate ways in which they can support their communities so that they come out stronger on the other side. This requires them to be aware of any new product needs that consumers have, for instance, Personal Protective Equipments and hand sanitizers. For businesses that offer services, this entails looking at new ways in which their services can be presented while considering the environmental impacts and risks.
Companies can also reduce the number of products and services that they offer that may not have a huge demand at the moment and focus on those that are in demand. This could allow them to respond to the huge demand food items due to consumers buying in bulk. They can also collaborate with other businesses in order to meet new demands for products and services that consumers have.
3. Protect the workforce
All workers within the supply chain play a vital role in the success of businesses and its imperative that they are looked after. Whether these are suppliers, freelancers or partners; they all need to feel supported in order for them to stay productive. This can be done by addressing the physical and mental health of the workforce.
Due to the increased demand for products as well as disruptions that are occurring, it could be highly stressful for workers. Businesses should ensure that they implement measures that support workers’ mental and emotional health. They additionally should ensure that the work environment follows the health guidelines set out to protect workers from Coronavirus.
4. Communicate effectively
It’s important for organizations to offer clear, regular and effective communication to all the parties within their supply chain networks such as workers, suppliers, carriers and customers. It will allow full transparency in a time of intense disruption.
In order to offer communication, businesses need to revise their expectations from their suppliers for services and also monitor whether or not they are being fulfilled. They also need to be transparent with customers about any service disruption that they may be experiencing in order to maintain their loyalty.
Furthermore, businesses must ensure that workers feel engaged and productive, especially remote workers. They need to make certain that they feel involved and that they feel they can trust the company and its leaders in order for them to be productive. This will be important for the organization as they will help them meet demands throughout the crisis.
5. Use analytics to support supply chain
In the event of disruption, businesses should use analytics and digital platforms in order to gain full visibility of the supply chain. This allows them to respond to any disruptions quickly and safely. Businesses should be aware of which customers and products are being affected in order to prioritize them and ensure that they implement action plans to solve the issues.
Analytics and digital platforms should also be used by companies to uncover risks that may have been hidden. Digital solutions can automatically implement solutions that will help to respond to disruptions.
While businesses could not have predicted the Coronavirus crisis, they can however implement resilient strategies to not only survive but come out stronger. Their ability to act fast will minimize the impact of the virus on their operations while benefiting their organizations and the community that they are part of.