Managing Your Supply Chain During COVID-19 Disruption
COVID-19 is disrupting businesses across the world. Some have seen sales drop off while others are busier than ever trying to keep up with changing market demands.
We interviewed Casey Adams and Brian Bowers from Visible Supply Chain Management to find out how they and their clients are managing this disruption and what other companies can do to survive and thrive during this uncertain time.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Adapt. Dozens of Utah companies are changing their production lines to meet the needs of hospitals and care givers in the area.
- Ogden’s Own Distillery has changed their processes to produce hand sanitizer instead of beer. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/03/19/ogdens-own-distillery/
- SugarHouse Industries went from making boat covers to face shields. https://ksltv.com/433917/face-shield/
- Coleman Knitting is using their sewing capability to switch from letterman jackets to hospital gowns. https://www.fox13now.com/news/local-news/utah-business-uses-old-supply-to-transform-product-providing-hospital-wear-amid-covid-19-shortages
I’m a proud Utah resident and companies here are not sitting around waiting for a government bailout. They are getting creative and getting to work!
- Market to the new normal. Sales of in house Coffee makers like Keurig are going through the roof as people used to getting coffee at work or from Starbucks are now getting their fix at home. How does your product or service fit into the new lifestyle of professionals working from home? What about parents schooling children from home? Let them know that you are not only relevant but an essential part of their new normal.
- Open new distribution channels. If you haven’t committed to an e-commerce strategy, now is the time. People are still buying and in many cases increasing online purchases. Look for other, non traditional distribution channels by geography, industry, or through partners that you haven’t thought of before.
- Get efficient. Now is a great time to work on Lean Six Sigma / Continuous Improvement projects to improve quality, throughput, safety, employee and customer satisfaction. Give your employees meaningful work by empowering them to solve problems they normally wouldn’t have time to solve.
- Diversify your supply chain. Understand, then work on making your supply chain more robust. Do you know where your raw materials are coming from? Many products, even from other countries, start in China. If you had not before, now is the time to find alternative suppliers and eliminate risk. Find local suppliers if possible. Use a total cost equation that takes risk into account not just the face value cost from the supplier.
- Add more value. Purchase goods in a more raw state and move the final configuration, assembly, programming, etc… in house. This allows you to be more flexible in what you deliver and minimizes your risk in inbound materials
In the end we are optimistic that companies will find a way to get through this crisis and come out better, more robust and secure, other side.
If you have a great story on how your company is adapting to succeed during COVID-19 please share it in the comments below.
Stay the course. Be good to your people. We are in this together!