The past few weeks the world has been put on hold due to COVID-19. Bars and restaurants have been closed to the public, non-essential workers and students have been sent home indefinitely, and the health care industry has taken a big hit. One of the biggest systems affected by COVID-19 is supply chain businesses of all types. All over the world, new hurdles are being presented every day due to COVID-19. The pandemic is disrupting the supply chain we depend on for things like food, medicine, cleaning supplies and more.
Companies are having trouble acquiring materials to make products and are struggling to ship their products to stores and wholesalers. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to get in contact with these overextended supply chain companies. To prepare you for the issues you might encounter while stocking your business, I wanted to share my experience working with supply chain businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Necessary Supplies are Few and Far Between
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), sanitizer and cleaning products are very hot commodities in these times. Vendors who typically have the ability to get back to me with quotes and answers to questions are now taking up to a week to get information back due to high volume. Many of these hot items are sold out, and items that are still available are often being sold at higher prices.
The demand for cleaning supplies and PPE like masks and gloves is very high, so it’s important to make these purchases as soon as possible.
Staffing and Production Times
Many of our vendors that we work with on a day-to-day basis have been either cutting back on hours or have been put on furlough all together. This has been a hurdle as getting in touch with companies and contacts can be difficult. Also, production time has been greatly impacted for most products. When searching for items necessary for Accel and our partner locations, I’ve received turnaround times as long as 14-16 weeks to receive products.
Adjusted Production Priorities
Many of our vendors who manufacture items that are unrelated to PPE have put their normal production on pause to help manufacture items needed to help those who are fighting and preventing COVID-19. For example, a vendor who manufacturers signs for Accel is currently working with grocery stores and airports to provide barriers to stop the spread of germs. We also have vendors and contacts who primarily work in an office setting who are now working in the company’s warehouses to help with the production of PPE.
This unprecedented time has had harsh effects on businesses around the world, but has also made many businesses adjust their priorities and production opportunities. I hope sharing a little bit about my experience with supply chain during the coronavirus pandemic will help you. While assessing your small business’ needs as we adjust to this new normal, a little creativity and open communication with your vendors will go a long way.