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Effective Ways for Supply Chains to Manage Risks During the COVID-19 Pandemic


It’s been over a century since the world saw a pandemic on par with COVID-19. Since no one under the age of 100 was alive during the Spanish Flu pandemic, it’s safe to say that the situation created by the novel coronavirus is uncharted territory for the vast majority of humanity. That being the case, it isn’t hard to see why COVID-19 has had such a profound impact on the way businesses operate and the manner in which people go about their daily lives. Unsurprisingly, supply chains have been affected in a variety of ways – from product shortages to supplier difficulties to client communications. While there’s no end-all solution to the current state of affairs, there are a number of effective risk-management measures that can help supply chains weather the storm.


Invest in Top-Tier Risk Management Software

Even in the best of times, supply chain risk management software is sure to serve you well. The right software will help you identify, mitigate and manage an extensive variety of risks, thereby saving your supply chain a fair amount of time, money and effort. Needless to say, dependable risk management software has become particularly important since the onset of COVID-19. With virtually every link of your chain impacted by the novel coronavirus, there’s no time like the present to start perusing software options.

Allow Chain Monitors to Work from Home

To help curb the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have come to embrace telecommuting in recent months. Even companies that once decried working from home have started to realize how beneficial it can be to both employees and their families. Additionally, thanks to various technological advancements, a sizable percentage of desk jobs can comfortably be carried out from the safety of home. That being the case, chain monitors – and anyone else who’s able to – should be allowed to carry out their job duties remotely.

In spite of copious evidence to the contrary, many business owners and chain managers believe that telecommuting promotes laziness and takes structure away from employees. However, even if you’ve been vehemently opposed to letting employees work from home in the past, there’s never been a more important time for you to rethink your stance on this issue. Allowing chain monitors and other employees to telecommute helps curb the spread of COVID-19, thus protecting the health of your workforce and slowing infection rates. 

Maintain Communication with Clients and Suppliers

Chances are good that a fair number of your clients and suppliers have felt the sting of the novel coronavirus. As a result of business slowing down, they may not be able to offer you their patronage or products as readily as they did pre-pandemic. Regardless, it’s a good idea to keep yourself on their radar for when things eventually return to normal. With this in mind, make a point of touching base with affected clients and suppliers at least once a week, especially if you intend to continue doing business with them post-pandemic.

Opt for Remote Meetings

Although in-person meetings play an important role in many businesses, the current situation requires supply chain managers to rethink the way meetings are conducted. So, instead of meeting with key personnel, important clients or suppliers in-person, use one of the many free virtual meeting apps. Even if you prefer the general atmosphere of an in-person meeting, touching base with people remotely is far more conducive to safety and flattening the curve.

If an in-person meeting absolutely must take place, make sure everyone present is donning a face mask – and wearing it properly – and adhering to social distancing measures. At no point should physical contact take place, and every person in attendance must maintain a minimum distance of six feet from everyone else. Furthermore, anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or has been around symptomatic individuals should be required to stay home.  


It’s hard to deny that times are tough. With infection numbers ballooning all over the country, the novel coronavirus is putting millions of us through our paces. Virtually every industry has been affected by COVID-19 to some extent – and supply chains are no exception. Still, while the threat of COVID-19 is going to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, there are numerous steps supply chain managers can take to keep risks in check.  


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