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Learning Supply chain management

Will your company shut down for Covid-19?

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If you are not dead, or a complete social hermit, you’ve heard about the dreaded Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

At the very least, you’ve probably not been able to buy toilet paper recently. I’m very much one of those people that cannot believe what has happened to the world where toilet paper becomes a rare commodity that people are fighting over. I did not run out to the supermarkets trying to find some that day. And I have four adults in my house, as two of my three children are grown. I can’t react to things the same way as some, and so I won’t run out to buy face masks. Only because I know the cheap ones are only viable for 20 minutes until condensation from your own breath degrades the paper so much, anything will pass through.

But now I am seeing it. The virus has affected our sales. Quotes that were sent out and accepted months ago are being cancelled last minute. It could be that their fundraisers were one of the major ones for the year. And we all know schools and sporting clubs count on these precious dollars. To keep enrolment fees or registration costs down, schools and clubs rely heavily on fundraising throughout the year.

I do know that the specific events that are being cancelled for the time being will be held later in the year. It might be that the clients are not expecting anyone to attend, therefore fewer ticket sales or fundraising, ergo, no money taken for us to collect and secure. But one of the schools was told by their Education Department that they were not allowed to hold their school fete.

So what will happen when Education Departments decide to extend school holidays? If a school has a confirmed case, they have been closing down. But if the Federal Government decides to extend school holidays. What will happen to the working parents who place their children in OHSC? If there are no school holiday programs available, do the parents need to leave work to care for them? Will they still have work to come back to? It will surely hit the economy for some time.

Woolworths announced that they will pay casual staff who are informed they must lose shifts, and Google has instructed all North American employees to work from home. They will likewise support their employees affected by the virus. And we have seen other countries, especially China and specifically the Wuhan province, benefit from complete closure. Italy has followed and only allowed stores selling necessities to remain open.

If we all have to work from home, so be it. But what if only selected companies declare that they have to remain isolated? What if you have to work from home, but your competitor remains in business? Is your job that secure that you can stay at home twiddling your thumbs while your major competition takes over your clientele? We have had new customers come to us simply because they don’t want to send their own staff to public places to do the banking. They’re being cautious, and we are benefitting, but will there come a time we all have to down tools and say, “Everyone meets back in a month.”

Sport is being affected to the degree that a lot of North American codes are just not holding a 2020 season. Australian sport is likewise looking at so few numbers that games and events are being cancelled. (Sorry if you were going to the Grand Prix in Melbourne.) It really hit me to see Cristiano Rinaldo playing to an empty stadium. Rinaldo!

So if precautions need to be taken, all well and good. I think any other option is not fair to all companies and businesses. If we all have to take a break, everyone comes back to the same income and positions we left. But so many people are already losing jobs because of tourism taking such a blow in Australia. I know one company in Adelaide that laid-off people because their business is bringing Chinese people to Kangaroo Island.

We now have to consider if our own couriers might just be turned away with no notice from clients who are being cautious no doubt, but are they going to let everyone else know? We simply provide a service, just like the cleaner or janitor. We might not be informed that the store or school is closing down and only find out when the courier arrives to collect the banking. We still have to pay that courier award rates for turning around.

Whatever the decision made for your company, it will not be an easy one. You will have to consider the families of your employees, how your clients will cope without you, and will your competitor reap the rewards of you being careful? Will you have to cancel other services to your store or business that then have a roll-on effect to other employees? It’s a scary thing to think of all the jobs involved in this decision.

In the meantime, be careful yourselves about how you conduct your daily business and ensure you don’t catch or pass on any viruses. And please stop pandering to clickbaits and media hype. It really doesn’t help. There are plenty of reliable, scientific sources that will help you understand what is happening and how to avoid infection.

And, if we are all to go home until it blows over, who will produce our toilet paper? Worse still, will we be allowed into the store to buy it?

How COVID-19 is Battering Australia’s Imports and Exports

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