While the full impact of the coronavirus on supply chains may not become clear until sometime in the next few months and beyond, it is important that shippers investigate how prepared their transportation partners are to mitigate disruptions to operations.
The first step is to recognize that disruptive events like the coronavirus are going to happen over time. The key is to understand the nature of the threat that a company faces and carefully review the policies and procedures your logistics provider has in place to protect its employees, customers, and operations from the spread of the virus.
Providers should have short term and long term strategies in place to deal with such situations. Short term strategies should include things like routinely disinfecting high touch surfaces, incentivizing sick workers to stay at home and sending workers with respiratory illnesses home immediately to avoid the spread of viruses.
Longer-term strategies should include initiatives such as the following:
Maximizing flexibility to work remotely if necessary.
Preparing for absenteeism
Suspend non-essential travel for employees.
Ensure supervisors adequately trained on the implementation of an infectious disease outbreak response plan.
While diligent planning for these types of health emergencies can help protect employees, customers, and the business, plans are only as good as their execution. Responsible logistics providers should use the current situation to optimize and battle-test their plans to ensure that clients’ shipping needs are not disrupted as events unfold over the coming months.