When the COVID crisis hit, organizations had no choice but to respond to the challenges they faced by leveraging the resources they and their suppliers had at their disposal. Clearly, some were better prepared and responded with more resilience than others. Now we are many months into the crisis, and it's time to look at what went wrong and what organizations should change going forward.
COVID-19 not only wreaked havoc on public health, but it also began a cycle of disruption in sourcing and fulfillment that may never return to any semblance of “normal.” In fact, for both the short and long term, supply chain executives will need to focus on “flexible” in their job descriptions.
The coronavirus outbreak is having a profound impact on every business’ supply chain. The U.S. manufacturing PMI indicated the worst contraction in production, new orders, and employment since the 2008 recession. Nearly 75% of companies report supply chain disruptions in March, a number most expect to rise further.
The primary goal of a procurement function to achieve savings carries greater significance in a recession when obtaining the lowest cost possible needs to be balanced with not compromising the quality of products and services delivered by suppliers. A secondary goal could be supporting major technology transformation projects. These goals are made more difficult when economic disaster strikes.
Businesses must ensure they understand what can be done remotely in relation to the signing of documents. They should also now be re-visiting contracts and opening dialogue with other parties within the supply chain to understand the potential impact Covid-19 may have. This planning is imperative to ensure business continuity, that relationships remain commercially viable and that disputes are avoided. Uncertainty does not absolve directors of the need to act in the business’ best interests.