10 March 2020

Novel coronavirus: Five ways your business can respond

Questions? Ready to get started?

The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts many businesses. In a fast-changing situation, it’s important to have a plan in place. Here are our five suggestions, providing a guide for your firm.
1. Look after employees and their families

  • In an effort to halt contagion, employees in affected countries have been unable to work from their regular workplace.
  • Ensure you can contact your staff and share information at short notice. Have a business continuity plan which enables remote working.
  • Consider technology to enable this, such as video conferencing, through company or personal computers.
  • If necessary, split teams across multiple sites or rotate office-based staff with those working remotely.
  • Follow World Health Organisation, governmental and public health official updates - and keep employees updated.

2. Review your supply chain

  • Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, global car manufacturers discovered a significant supplier dependency when one company producing 40% of the world’s microcontrollers had to close a plant.
  • You can unearth hidden dependencies through reviewing your supply chain from end to end, identifying your suppliers’ supply source down to component level and understanding who your customers sell onto.
  • Undertake a risk assessment of contractual commitments and potential use of clauses relating to unforeseeable circumstances, by you or by your buyers and suppliers.
  • Identify and connect with alternative supply options, right down to the component level.

3. Logistics and distribution

  • Enforced office or factory closures and disruption to transport services – including roads, ports and loading facilities – could impact on goods being delivered and documents being processed on time.
  • Map your dependencies, ensure you have visibility and a plan for disruptions – for example, using air freight in the event shipping is restricted.
  • Anticipate disruption to service providers – from legal services to customs checks.
  • Consider implications right across your operations - from sourcing to production to distribution.

4. Build resilience

  • Replicate this exercise to plan for other potential disruptions – such as natural disasters, political instability or cyber-attack.
  • Develop response protocols and internal chains of command for each scenario.
  • Contingency planning for different scenarios will stand any business in good stead.

5. Manage financial risks

  • Prepare for changes in market conditions including demand, price, and foreign exchange volatility.
  • Stress test your working capital, as flows of goods and services are interrupted and consider any support you may offer your suppliers.
  • Where necessary, build your inventory selectively and consider insurance requirements if interruptions occur.
  • Speak to your bank about immediate support and building resilience against potential disruption.

How we can help further:
We’re here to support our clients. We’ve introduced relief measures to help our clients. Speak to your Relationship Manager as you develop a plan for your business.

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