For Irish businesses reliant on global imports, coronavirus presents a whole new set of supply chain risks.
Find out what you can do to protect your business against coronavirus in this week’s article.
How could coronavirus affect my business?
If your business relies on goods coming in from factories overseas, then the spread of coronavirus could have a serious impact on your ability to meet your usual production and distribution deadlines.
Authorities all around the world are quite rightly doing everything they can to stop the disease from spreading, but these worldwide efforts to contain the disease are already having an impact on the global supply chain.
We’ve been monitoring the coronavirus outbreak closely for a number of weeks. Here’s what we know so far.
Imported goods cannot be ‘infected’ with coronavirus
Firstly, you don’t need to worry about imported goods ‘carrying’ the virus. Any goods that you have imported, from China or elsewhere, are safe and won’t need to be quarantined or destroyed. The HSE have confirmed that “You cannot get coronavirus from packages or food that has come from China or elsewhere,” and that “there is no evidence that animals or animal products legally imported into the EU are a health risk due to coronavirus.”
Ireland’s supply chain could suffer delays
Based on what we know so far, Irish importers, distributors and manufacturers will have to manage delays as a result of coronavirus. The global supply chain has already experienced some issues (some industries have been worse affected than others). If the disease continues to spread, we’ll face more supply chain issues over the coming weeks.
The main problem lies with how the disease affects manufacturers. If factory workers experience any coronavirus symptoms, they need to be sent home for at least two weeks, and that can prevent goods from getting out the factory door and into the supply chain. In Wuhan, where the virus originated, many factories have had to shut down completely for the past three weeks. It looks increasingly likely that factories across the globe will face similar slow-downs and shut-downs as this disease spreads.
As we understand it, coronavirus can only slow down the arrival of goods at the manufacturing stage; we don’t foresee any delays once goods have been despatched and are in transit.
What steps can you take to protect your business?
At the moment, there are three steps that all businesses can take:
Check for daily coronavirus updates
Authorities all over the world have been working hard to both control and report on the spread of the disease. The EU website is publishing some very informative European coronavirus updates on their website. The World Health Organisation are publishing daily situation reports on their website, too. We’re checking in on both of these resources every day, just to see how and where the disease is spreading, and we’re trying to help our clients to stay one step ahead.
Communicate early with suppliers and customers
Forewarned is forearmed. If you think that Coronavirus is going to impact your customers, or if you have any concerns about your suppliers’ ability to deliver on time, it’s best to have a candid discussion as soon as possible.
Follow your existing written procedures
Clients should look at existing policy and methodology documents for guidance in the first instance. Most manufacturing and logistics methodologies (CAPA, Six Sigma, ISO9000, TQM (Total Quality Management), Lean etc.) have a template in place for situations just like Covid-19.
Baku GLS are getting ready for coronavirus
Coronavirus will have an impact on global business for the next few weeks, so we’re doing all that we can to prepare. We’re in daily contact with our network of clients and partners, and we’re staying abreast of all coronavirus-related developments. The Baku team is highly trained and we have long-standing procedures in place to help us handle situations just like this. Find out more about our QMS.