The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis without a modern parallel. The lack of precedent for a black swan event so broad in its impact across geographic, demographic, and economic sectors explains why many public and private sector organisations were already becoming strained before the WHO officially declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
Today, the priority of leaders focuses on how to respond to this unprecedented situation and how to recover from it. However, given the complexity of the pandemic, there is a reason to believe that the recovery phase for COVID-19 will require unprecedented levels of orchestration and coordination during what promises to be a challenging period.
See also: COVID-19: Digitations in Supply Chain & What To Adapt
Recovery plan in retail supply chain
In the retail supply chain, where businesses are mostly relied upon, shifting from central command to central orchestration would be more challenging. Despite companies established crisis management, leaders should go further to look for clues about how and when the recovery will take place, and establish flexible plans for the recovery period. Experts at Deloitte advised leaders to ask these questions during the plan of recovery.
- How do we know when to start pulling back from the containment measures put in place to ensure the health and safety of our people?
- What are the leading indicators of the rebound to help us best time the launch of our recovery efforts?
- How have customers and markets changed due to COVID-19?
- Will this be a lasting change or a transitory change?
- Are our products and services still relevant in a post-COVID-19 market, or must they adapt to new realities?
- How do we restart manufacturing and broader supply chain operations, considering the abrupt and uncoordinated nature in which supply chains were slowed or shut down?
- How do we manage working capital as operations restart and inventory and material orders build in an uncertain market?
- How can we maintain operational flexibility to serve customers while maintaining adequate liquidity during an extended ramp-up period?
- How can technology be leveraged to better orchestrate cross-functional efforts within the company, as well as efforts across our extended supply chain partners to synchronize supply to updated forecasts and demand signals?
Monitoring the rebound
While there is a lot of uncertainty, a likely scenario can be played to help with the recovery phase. For example, beyond the health statistics, there are a plethora of economic and financial indicators. Therefore, leaders could monitor and provide clearest pictures of the rebound timing and the most likely progression back to the normal economic environment, such as hours worked, unemployment claims, retail sales, home sales, manufacturing activity, equity market indexes, company financial reports and analyst guidance, commodity price index and the yield curve.
Read also: Labour Challenge in the Supply Chain Industry during COVID-19