ParcelHero has detailed ten key steps which retailers, importers and delivery companies are advised to take to reduce the impact of the virus.
ParcelHero has studied the impact of the new coronavirus on retail supply chains worldwide. It has said that while the final effect on world trade has yet to be determined, all logistics and delivery companies should have plans in place to prepare for sudden changes in supply chains and to reassure staff and customers. Below are the ten recommended steps that companies are advised to take to mitigate the effect of Covid-19 on international trade and logistics:
1. Set up a central emergency team, that can communicate effectively – working remotely if necessary. Consider videoconferencing systems as the best alternative to regular face-to-face meetings. Business ‘chat rooms’ such as Microsoft Teams, which also incorporates video, or Slack, might be useful to implement now, if not already used.
2. Keep staff ‘at the coalface’ informed and re-assured, such as drivers concerned about making home deliveries, or workers travelling to perceived risk areas such as Hong Kong.
3. Plan for a sharp, sudden uptake of home deliveries. If the Covid-19 becomes more established in the UK, many consumers are likely to want to avoid crowded shopping areas and may well take up home deliveries of goods and food for the first time.
4. Be aware of what stock will be in demand and what in decline.
5. Allow for significant delays in China courier services. The Post Office has suspended or changed the details of many services into China and many international courier services have been cancelled or delayed, depending on which region of China is being served.
6. Review client base in order to set priorities. Be aware of which customers are most exposed to problems in Chinese manufacturing and which may need to source from another supplier in another country.
7. Be aware which international companies may need to change their distribution patterns or sourcing. Chinese sourced goods and components are severely disrupted.
8. Be prepared for complete changes in global maritime shipping patterns. As China has ground to a halt, terminal operations and pick-up of inbound containers in China have slowed to a virtual stop. This is having a huge knock-on effect for all kinds of markets.
9. Be prepared to also experience airfreight disruption if logistics networks involve China. Not only are many direct freight services suspended, but also so-called ‘belly cargo’ capacity is reduced; as airlines such as British Airways, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific have suspended commercial passenger flights to and from China.
10. Maximise cash flow. In the light of a significant coronavirus pandemic. Freight companies and manufacturers must plan operations to maximise cash flow rather than profits. Unexpected potential changes in global logistics and retail patterns mean liquidity and adaptability is vitally important.
For ParcelHero’s latest information on delays, service disruptions and any potential risks, see its constantly updated guide here.