The coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak is prompting many executives to protect their employees--but their businesses may still be at risk unless steps are also taken to safeguard their supply chain. Avetta® (www.avetta.com), a global leader in supply chain risk management for more than 450 enterprises and 95,000 suppliers worldwide, has been gathering insights from leading organizations on the best methods for handling this global outbreak.
Those recommendations are included in the Avetta white paper entitled, “Supply Chain Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus and SARS Outbreaks,” which is available here. The document includes background on the scope of the crisis and tips for mitigating risk.
The coronavirus outbreak is already much more serious than the SARS crisis in 2003. SARS took more than six months to infect 5,000 people in mainland China. The coronavirus reached that number in less than a month and octupled (8x) it in less than two months.
Interviews with 20 environmental, health and safety leaders found 40% of the executives report they are now stopping work in affected areas, and they are uncertain when business will be normal again. Looking back, the “hurry up and wait” uncertainty around SARS was a large contributor to nearly $100 billion USD in lost revenue worldwide.
The white paper includes an Avetta customer who took on some major initiatives after the SARS outbreak, including:
- Holding annual drills on mock disasters or epidemics
- Establishing a task force to monitor the situation
- Developing and distributing organizational guidelines surrounding travel, employee and industrial hygiene, alternative working solutions and more
This company’s safety program includes contractors and subcontractors in every tier of its supply chain. While it’s not possible to make up for years of lack of preparation, the white paper includes steps that companies can take now to make a difference, including these measures:
- Protect your most valuable asset, your employees, by reviewing hygiene conditions frequently.
- Identify current vulnerabilities and risks in your supply chain.
- Ensure your Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and protocols are up to date.
- Develop redundancy plans with critical vendors and sole source suppliers.
Many companies are using Avetta to deal the numerous challenges during the outbreak. Avetta’s new Connect platform helps reroute supply chains to a non-affected area and engage with suppliers who are compliant with safety, sustainability, and quality requirements. The cloud-based program can also help clients choose contingency plans for interruptions due to the coronavirus or any future crisis to the supply and operational chain.
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