5 tips for handling supply chain risk and COVID-19

It's been a few months since the first lockdown orders around the novel coronavirus pandemic were announced, and for the most part, companies in many industries seem to be adjusting to the "new normal" as best they can. However, while those in the supply chain may have been particularly proactive in dealing with these issues, there are also relatively few sectors that are exposed to more risk as a result of the outbreak.

With that in mind, the following tips will help any supply chain business keep themselves as well-positioned for success as possible:

1) Build better relationships with partners - especially those overseas

One of the biggest issues seen in the supply chain in recent months has been backups and confusion in shipping, particularly when it comes to imports and exports, according to Penn News Service. For that reason, it's critical for businesses at every step of the supply chain to know what their partners are dealing with and potentially finding solutions that work for everyone. With better data tracking, these kinks in the system can be identified as they develop and are smoothed out in real time.

It's critical to understand the large- and small-scale changes of the pandemic.It's critical to understand the large- and small-scale changes of the pandemic.

2) Improve planning for worker safety

The other most notable problem for many companies in the supply chain has been what they can do to keep their employees safe on an ongoing basis, because even a few positive diagnoses for COVID-19 can lead to operations being shuttered, Penn News Service said. For that reason, they need to take all due caution - providing safety gear, enacting social distancing rules and more - to ensure they can continue to work (more or less) as they did prior to the outbreak.

3) Communicate your risk mitigation strategies

When you're putting all these plans into place, it's important to make sure all involved know what's going on with them and why they're being enacted, according to Material Handling & Logistics. That way, there is no ambiguity about your plans or what it will take to make sure they are properly enacted and, as a consequence, things are far more likely to go smoothly as you attempt to adapt to the current conditions.

4) Invest in the right technologies

Often, you may find that you do not have the deepest or strongest insights into your own operations, which can put a serious crimp in your ability to react to emergent problems - or be the best supply chain partner you can be, MH&L added. For that reason, now might be the time to make sure you have all the right tech under your roof, and that it's being utilized properly, so you can be as nimble as possible going forward.

5) Have a plan to power out

While the pandemic is understandably front of mind for many businesses, and is likely to linger in some form or another for at least another year, it is still just temporary, according to Spend Matters. For that reason, it's important to have a plan in place so that your company can successfully pivot out of its "pandemic" stance and get back to its previous normal operations.

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