Coronavirus, Manufacturing and the Supply Chain
Protecting Your Supply Chain During the Coronavirus Outbreak
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a serious pandemic spreading across the globe. For many organizations, handling workplace safety protocols as well as supply chain management during this outbreak is uncharted territory. While other diseases and disasters have caused impacts before, there is a lot of uncertainty with COVID-19 as the situation is still unfolding.
The Spread of the Coronavirus
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which can cause illness in animals and humans. COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. In December 2019, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Wuhan, China. This new virus and disease, commonly simply referred to as coronavirus, has rapidly spread around the globe. On March 11, 2020, it was declared to be a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As of that date, over 125,000 cases in over 120 territories had been reported. Additionally, 4,600 people had passed away due to the disease.
Although quarantines and preventative methods such as handwashing have been effective, the virus has still spread far and wide. Furthermore, many people fear that it may be further spread than the current numbers indicate due to a long asymptomatic period. This fear has worsened the social and economic impact of the virus.
The health impact of coronavirus is substantial and cause for major concern. However, this is not the only way that the virus has impacted us. As mentioned above, there has been a substantial economic impact, especially amid fears about the effects of quarantines, working from home and supply chain disruptions.
For manufacturing businesses, the results of the coronavirus can already be felt. These are some statistics that illuminate the problem:
- The Institute for Supply Chain Management’s national factory activity index fell from 50.9 in January to 50.1 in February. Although that difference may not seem like much, it indicates a major slowing of manufacturing. If it falls further, that will indicate that the sector is shrinking.
- Significantly, the sub-index of new orders fell even further from 52 to 49.8. This suggests that the virus may cause a slowdown that lasts longer than the outbreak.
- The three main U.S. stock market indexes have experienced some of their worst declines in history. This has further fanned fears about what the broader economic impact may be.
The problem isn’t just felt in the manufacturing business. Many upstream sectors are also feeling the pressure. For example, while construction was continuing its expansion even in the winter, worries about a disrupted supply chain appear to be hampering further activity.
It is unclear what the full impact of the virus will be because it is an ongoing problem. However, one thing is clear: businesses need to prepare themselves to tackle the problem head-on.
Can Protect Themselves
If you’re concerned about your supply chain management during the outbreak, take confidence knowing that there are steps you can take to protect yourself. While disruptions may be likely, some proactivity now can significantly improve your business’s outlook as the pandemic continues.
- Focus on Your People: First and foremost, create a plan for your people. Do what you can to mitigate an outbreak of the disease within your staff. Try to plan your human resourcing flexibly to allow for extra sick leave during this time.
- Know Your Suppliers: Supply chain disruptions have been catching many businesses off-guard. Focusing on your relationships with suppliers and ensuring that you have good communication can help ensure that you will be ready for issues. Furthermore, knowing if and when your suppliers are directly impacted by the virus can help you to respond more promptly.
- Evaluate Current Vulnerabilities: It is a supply chain management best practice to evaluate your vulnerabilities. Explore which of your suppliers are most likely to be significantly impacted and what the results would be.
- Create a Backup Plan: Have a backup plan for your supply chain. Foster relationships with contingency suppliers. Consider increasing your current stock of supplies. Involve your customers and vendors in these plans. Greater openness and communication help to minimize disruptions.
These techniques can help your business to be better prepared to take on disruptions caused by the coronavirus. The greatest economic impact so far has been driven primarily by uncertainty. The more planning you do now, the less uncertain your future will be. Therefore, you can move forward stronger and more confidently even as the outbreak continues.
Steps to Reduce COVID-19 Risk
It goes without saying that asking your team to cooperate in taking steps to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases is important, and it is critical during this unprecedented COVID-19 situation. That includes reminders regarding:
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Washing your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
- Covering your mouth with tissues whenever you sneeze, and discarding used tissues in the trash.
- Avoiding people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
How Clarion Safety
Systems Can Help
As we all navigate the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, please know that the Clarion Safety team is closely monitoring the impact and will keep you at the center of any updates related to your orders.
At this time, the virus is not effecting business at Clarion Safety’s headquarters and production facility, both located in the Northeastern United States. Currently, we do not anticipate a risk to our supply chain (which is also U.S.-based), or expect delays or disruptions to your orders.
With that said, as the impact of the virus evolves, you can rest assured that we’ll be in touch promptly with any issues related to your order. Please know that we’re completely committed to on-time deliveries and providing you with the best customer experience possible.
If you need assistance with visual communication products to have in stock for your equipment needs or to support your disease resilience strategy, please notify our team. We’re committed to our customers’ success and are happy to work collaboratively to ensure your company’s well-being and your supply chain stability during this crisis.