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Supply Chain Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus and SARS Outbreaks

April 1, 2020
Sustaining Businesses During the Fallout — The COVID-19 outbreak has come as a serious alert for supply chain management across the world to establish alternate sourcing and manufacturing plan in […]

Sustaining Businesses During the Fallout —

The COVID-19 outbreak has come as a serious alert for supply chain management across the world to establish alternate sourcing and manufacturing plan in different regions of the world. While natural disasters and events, such as the COVID-19, are unpredictable, organizations need to include contingencies with the scope of their risk management framework — and the time to act is now.

Following is an excerpt from the Avetta whitepaper Supply Chain Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus and SARS Outbreaks.

Sustaining Businesses During the Fallout

Regardless of whether businesses have operations in affected regions, there are going to be repercussions of the COVID-19 felt across industries. Restrictions on travel and absenteeism within vendors and suppliers could cause massive supply chain disruptions worldwide.

That said, companies with significant portions of operations in China are at a particular risk of upheaval.

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Organizations need to take precautionary measures in order to ensure business continuity during the fallout.

One of the most significant things organizations need to focus on is establishing a comprehensive and conducive business continuity plan (BCP) and determining the degree of organizational preparedness to deal with the global COVID-19 outbreak. This includes reviewing company policies on communicable diseases, monitoring internal and external communication measures, identifying alternative vendors and conducting thorough online and off-line training and simulation drills. As part of this exercise, companies need to keep employees updated on the local scenario and announcements especially from government and/or public health officials.

This is not a one-time exercise. Instead businesses should continually analyze and update their business continuity plans in order to avoid delays, as in the case of disasters like the Coronavirus outbreak.

Another essential aspect for businesses is to manage insurance policies of both themselves and their suppliers and vendors. All applicable policies must be reviewed. And subsequent preparation for potential claims needs to be prioritized.

Steps to take globally to contain COVID-19: an EHS perspective

When it comes to the COVID-19 global outbreak, there are no specific international standards at this time. There are, however, certain regulatory guidelines that may help prevent occupational exposure to COVID-19. For instance, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provide standards on the usage of respiratory protection and personal protective equipment (PPE). This could prove useful since it is believed that SARS-CoV-2 is passed through respiratory droplets.

While they do not specifically have provisions for a COVID-19 outbreak, most occupational health and safety regulations have some provision for communicable diseases. Following these standards could help organizations prevent the deadly epidemic from spreading in the workplace.
Replace face-to-face meetings with video conferences.
Permit staff to work from home.
Place a hold on travel to and from infected areas.
Implement a 14-day self-quarantine period for employees that have traveled to China.
Apply the same restrictions among suppliers and temporary workers as you do full-time employees.
In China, conduct temperature scans before allowing entry to work. All workers should wear the necessary PPE.

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Best Practices Concerning Ongoing Operations: If someone on site is suspected to be infected that staff member should leave the office immediately and visit the doctor. Before returning to work they need a “cleared to work” form by a medical professional. Also, please note if someone is showing symptoms they may be detained while crossing borders.

About the Author: For more information, and to download Avetta’s complete whitepaper Supply Chain Lessons Learned from The Coronavirus and SARS Outbreaks, please visit To read an additional Avetta blog article, Steps to Prevent Coronavirus From Disrupting Your Global Supply Chain, please visit

About the Author

Human Network Contributor

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