Supply Chain start up

Someday the Covid-19 mess will start to subside. Today, most people will still be dealing with each new day’s events as venues close down and government edicts affect the supply chain. But when you get a moment to breathe, it is worth giving some thought what the start up will look like once the crisis subsides.

In my youth, television ran on tubes and took awhile to turn on. As electronics came into play, television manufacturers started advertising “Instant On”. The return to normal life will not be Instant On. I choose the word “subside” deliberately because everything will not go back to normal at once. Some geographic areas will be slower to recover than others. The lost of income will affect some countries, businesses, and organizations more than others. There will be some significant changes in markets during startups . Can you guess how your markers will be affected?

There is a lack of historical data about recovery. The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed many people but how many is not clear. There is not much research on how things restarted after the epidemic. The end of World War II was somewhat analogous to what has happening now as almost all production was war related. Once the war ended, there were shortage of lot items because they had not produced during the war, and turning around to civilian market took time. In both cases two to three years later the economy was prosperous.

Another good data source is the business publication CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarter 1, 2020 article entitled: “7 Steps to Counter Catastrophe”. If you are a member of CSCMP (Council of Supply Chaim Management Professions) this article can be found for free on the CSCMP website. The article is based on a catastrophe being limited area, not the whole country. It lists publicly available data sources and those data sources might helpt to model how restart might happen.

There is limitation of this article because of its geographic disaster assumption being only in a localize areas. The best approach is to have open and curious mind about how the market is starting up.

Once it is known what the market will look like even on a temporary basis, it is possible to map out flows and bottlenecks. Be prepared that the computer software your firm is using was not designed for country-wide, world-wide shut down like we are experiencing now.

Communication within and without your organization is key. Processes will not be normal. They will need to be explained. You may need help from government leaders to clear bottlenecks. Realize that while your organization is adjusting, so others are also and your organization may need their teamwork in the process also.

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