Businesses shutting down means the global supply chains are affected due to the spread of COVID-19, bringing the global economy to its knees. Deciding to halt operations to keep employees safe from the virus has, in turn, been making it difficult for almost everyone to make a living.
The supply chain is where most of the procedures take place. From planning, raw material procurement, processing, and logistics, products that generally receive priority to businesses went from flowing to trickling. Suddenly, only those that have to do with everyday survival receive leeway to run as they should. Food, medicine, and other types of home supplies are the essentials that must keep the shelves full.
However, the goal is to keep things in balance. Operations must run smoothly while making sure that employees are still in good health. The global supply chains must follow the cycle going to support the slowly subdued economies around the world.
The Pandemic Effect On Consumer Behavior
According to McKinsey & Company’s research on global demand, groceries are the most likely to go home with buyers, and it is evident with today’s US and UK consumer behavior. With the governments placing lockdowns in towns and cities to make people stay home, panic-buying has reached an all-time high. Because of it, businesses are limiting the number of items per customer due to low supply. The Spanish and Italian respondents concluded otherwise, saying that they will still be buying non-essential goods.
Online shopping has also been serving as an alternative to consumers due to social distancing. Groceries are remaining the priority, and other products such as electronics, apparel, and home furnishings are keeping low in demand.
Manufacturers are now taking measures to meet with the demand of the consumers during this time. As businesses face the ‘new normal,’ and with the old patterns not working for everyone anymore, Putting new measures on active management to the test.
The Latest Practices On Supply Chain Management
Retail businesses are taking steps to tune operations with alleviating risks and keeping communications flowing. Adapting new routes and processes are a must to keep up with the demand and to save the companies handling the supply chain.
- On Employees/Crew
-Appoint one speaker and address all stakeholders. Create a layout all the necessary information on adjustments and changes and take care not to leave anything out.
-Keep employees safe by shifting schedules and providing protective gear such as facemasks, gloves, and PPEs.
-Make it a protocol for employees to report to supervisors if they are not feeling well during a workday. Instruct them to follow local health guidelines and to stay home. They may also contact domestic health workers for help.
-As a necessary precaution, schedule disinfection of the workplace and other areas where employees frequent, including bathrooms, cafeterias, warehouses, and more. Do not forget specific equipment as well, primarily if more than one person is handling them.
-Arrange scheduling for staff who are in short shiftings to minimize the concentration of people using the same area, such as the office and cafeterias.
-Initiate work-from-home procedures on areas of operations that one can do remotely.
-Consider allocating staff from other departments and initiate cross-training to areas that need concentration and focus if there is a shortage of staff.
-If necessary, hire temporary employees to keep up with the demand.
-Establish customer service-readiness to address various queries.
-Establish workplace hygiene such as reminders and protocols before, during, and after work. Provide an ample supply of soaps, hand sanitizers, and alcohol for personal disinfection.
-Make pay raises to staff that needs to put in extra hours on productivity.
-Establish a single location for all decision-making and strategizing concerns to avoid confusion among the employees. Let the appropriate individuals handle decisions and
-Utilize technology for remote or distance company meetings.
-Create a team that will handle workforce concerns to make sure their well-being is on the priority list.
-Create and implement safety precautions for all parties involved.
-Discuss both long and short term scenarios on sales operations and inventory.
-Prioritize customer needs and demands by rebalancing production processes.
-Assess customer demands through discount promotions and offers.
-Create strategies to identify both short and long term risks and opportunities.
-Adapt rebalancing strategies for various products and services.
-Make use of analytics software or AI for faster assessment and visibility of operations management.
-Create simulations on various scenarios that could affect the supply chain to determine areas that need enhancing.
-Discuss possible partnerships between the suppliers and your trusted logistics company.
-Conduct inventory analysis to keep track of customer demands and create strategies to lessen the impact of evolving risks.
-Exporting businesses must keep track of regions and countries on the whole affected by the COVID-19 to assess consumer behavior to prepare for the next quarter.
-Engage customers and layout information they can access to which orders must be put on hold to prioritize essential goods deliveries.
-Modify ecommerce item collection or simplify the SKU profiles to showcase only crucial products that are available for sale and delivery. Consider adding more varieties.
-Identify orders of essential items that need immediate deployment to the customers.
-Impose maximums on specific limited items per customer.
-Make a plan to account for the mismatching of supply and demand.
- Financial Aspect
-Preserve cash to avoid bankruptcy amid non-revenue
-Conducting cash flow analysis in the following weeks
-Track the outgoings or payments to essential businesses that support operations
-Eliminate extra costs that are stifling business growth during this time.
-Adapt activities concerning and are critical for cash/income acquirement, such as presenting products at flagship stores to fuel smaller shops.
-Use financial technology and utilize com features to make payments easier for customers.
-Search for low-cost suppliers that can deliver a similar quality of materials.
-Adjust buying plans to save cash.
-Keep communications open daily and discuss strategic routines.
-Adapt rescheduling material deliveries with a specific volume at a time.
-Acquire alternative suppliers that can help bolster operations faster.
-Lessen the variety of products and prioritize categories in demand.
-Reduce requirements and payment duration to essential suppliers.
-Work with suppliers to alleviate risks on current existing orders.
-Devise allocation plans once a supplier becomes unavailable or when quality starts dwindling.
-Identify strategic partners with a risk management plan in case of material shortage or unavailability.
-Assess on-hand inventory and items for transit.
-Establish more options for deliveries to enlarge the capacity.
-Identify freights and other logistic means that are closer to your customer base.
-Open a discussion on possibly dropping directly from suppliers to stores.
-Consider deploying a private fleet to support critical deliveries of essential goods.
-Use fleet management AI to closely track employee activity, delivery schedules, fuel consumption, and vehicle conditions, and reparations.
-Help your logistics partners to plan for risk management so that the workforce will be able to service your needs.
-Discuss slowing down requirements on same-day and next-day deliveries
-Create more options to make order fulfillment and return options flexible to customers.
-Plan other means of routing with your logistics partner to maximize delivery potential and welcome more slots.
Food Essentials and Food Supply Management
American consumers, like the rest of the world, are prioritizing food. Several items are taking the lead, according to Time Magazine, when it comes to food items:
-Meat alternatives / canned meat / fresh meat / chicken
-Snack foods (popcorn, pretzels, chocolate)
-Fruit (apples, papayas, bananas) and Vegetables
The Food and Agriculture Organization has particular implementations on the food supply chain. Aside from assisting financially to organizations and individuals profoundly affected by the pandemic, there are also other suggested measures for various countries:
-Provide a center for collections for food producers to lessen mobility. It includes food banks that also need to have a high capacity.
–Offer financial assistance to small farmers and to keep the supply of fresh produce, eggs, dairy, and meat products coming.
-Develop ecommerce systems for small farmers so they could quickly sell products.
-Send healthcare workers on-site to tend to the health needs of small farmers.
-Find ways to minimize the disruption of logistics to be able to reach customers fast, especially since the cargo involves perishable goods.
-Provide financial aid to employees and self-employed individuals and their families for emergency food supplies.
-Logistics must receive testing and special permits to expand the reach of delivery.
-The government must restrict the inflation on food prices as business owners can take advantage of the pandemic and raise pricing on essential items.
Business supply chains would run out of control without proper management procedures. The world was without preparation for a global pandemic that can shut down operations entirely. But because people must survive and keep to the health laws, businesses must proceed to provide for their needs. It is also to keep the companies afloat enough to retain people and for them to keep their income during this time.
The supply chain on all products are affected by the rise of the demand for food and other essential goods and the decline of everything else. Businesses must keep up with the needs and look for different ways to generate income. They must all rise to the challenge of minimizing risks while keeping all parties involved in good health to ensure that supply chains continue operations in the midst of “the new normal.”