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There are many practical ways you can respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as a business owner or administrator. In the short term, promote social distancing, handwashing, and self-isolation when sick to your workforce. In the long term, it’s important to take a holistic look at your business and protect your supply chain.

The Harvard Business Review predicts that the impact of COVID-19 on the global supply chain will peak in mid-March and could be felt for months after. If you are informed about possible breakdowns and have plans in place to mitigate them, you will be better able to withstand economic slowdown.

Analyze your supply chain

In a recent survey, the Institute for Supply Chain Management found that COVID-19 is already affecting the global supply chain. They say, “Manufacturers in China report operating at 50 percent capacity with 56 percent of normal staff.” They go on to report, “More than 44 percent of respondents do not have a plan in place to address supply disruption from China.” The supply chain is already impacted, yet many don’t have plans in place to address this. Now is the time to act.

Take a look at all aspects of your supply chain, as far upstream as you can go. Understand who is providing each service and note if they are in a region heavily impacted by COVID-19. Where it is possible, explore alternative sources to safeguard the chain. It’s better to be prepared with sources you may not need than to be left hanging if a factory or port is heavily delayed.

Prepare backups

This is a good time to build out your talent pool, if possible. If your office is working remotely, you can leverage phone and video chat capabilities to interview and hire reserve staff. If you don’t already, now would be a good time to utilize document e-signing tools like Docusign or HelloSign in your business. That way, prospective workers and employees alike can continue to do business remotely. 

Having multiple people you can count on means you will be prepared when production ramps back up. Once shipments are renewed and ships are docked, companies across the U.S. will be competing for the same workers. That is why it is smart to build relationships now, get prepared, and think ahead.

Stay informed

We know the world can feel very uncertain as people respond to this pandemic. We recommend relying on reliable sources for updates, like the World Health Organization. We’ve also compiled a helpful list on how to prepare your workforce for COVID-19. You set the tone for your workforce. That’s why it’s essential to stay calm and take common-sense precautions.