During the coronavirus outbreak, when businesses are shut down and employees are working from home, how do commercial vehicle manufacturers stay afloat?
Suppliers are currently working to make sure their equipment and services are available to the fleets that are working overtime to deliver necessary goods–including food and medicines–during this pandemic, while also doing their best to keep their employees safe and healthy.
“We play a critical role in our national infrastructure; without our trucks, our communities will not thrive,” said Andrea Corso of Daimler Trucks North America. “We will continue to support our customers at this crucial time while protecting the health and well-being of our employees.”
DTNA has followed all mandates and suspended business travel in order to follow the preventative measures given by health officials.
Pressure Systems International CEO, Tim Musgrave, said the automatic tire-inflation system manufacturer is completely changing its customer interaction methods, and will continue to work on the efficiency of that communication “over the next several weeks, and perhaps months.” The company supplies these systems for commercial trucks across 45 different countries.
“We are doing everything we can to be responsive to the ever-changing business environment as governments, businesses, schools, and (the) medical industry react to the pandemic and prevent the spread of the virus,” explained Musgrave.
To ensure the safety of all employees and customers, PSI has its employees taking daily temperature screenings, while management discusses healthy habits each day that they can implement into their lives for the sake of themselves, the company, and their families. PSI has also cancelled all nonessential office visits.
On the other hand, Scott Blevins, Chief Operating Officer of Worldwide Equipment Inc.–a Kentucky-based dealer supplying trucks and trailers across six states in 16 dealerships and 15 leasing locations–says the company is still offering its regular services and is offering flexible working arrangements to its employees. The company is thoroughly cleaning door knobs and keyboards and is urging employees to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Cashiers and service workers must also wear nitrile gloves. Nonessential travel for the company is restricted.
“All of our locations remain open to service and support our customers in these stressful times. Our technicians are working to keep your trucks and trailers on the road as you require,” said Blevins. “Our delivery vehicles are working daily to provide parts to your door or locations.”
While these dealers and manufacturers are working as hard as possible to keep operations moving along, the effects the outbreak will have on their businesses are yet to be determined.
“The full impact of coronavirus on supply chains might not become obvious until sometime in the next few months and beyond,” said Gartner Senior Director Analyst, Koray Kose. “The risks always exist and are augmented with further globalization and integration of supply chains. It is not a matter of if it will happen, but to change the focus to be prepared when it happens. That is a shift of mindset in risk management and business continuity.”
According to Gartner, labor and material shortages, travel restrictions, and logistical challenges will increase the impact during the COVID-19 pandemic much further than it did with the 2003 SARS outbreak.
“Supply chain leaders should take initial steps now to monitor and prepare for the impact on their value chain,” said Kose.
What to expect:
- Material shortages from logistical hubs
- White- and blue-collar labor that are unable to work due to illness or quarantine guidelines
- Sourcing challenges as travel becomes more restricted
- Logistics limitations in supply networks as availability decreases and finding new routes becomes more difficult
- Consumers becoming more cautious in their purchases due to fears around the virus
What to do now:
Develop monitoring and response programs regarding business in the areas impacted by the virus and for supply chain exposure from tier 1 and below. Prioritize discovery if a lower tier transparency is missing and assess how customer spending may be affected.
Next, ensure inventory is within reach and outside of impacted areas. Leaders should also work with legal and HR departments to understand the possibilities around being unable to deliver.
What to do this quarter:
Balance supply and demand and build buffer stock. Diversify the supplier ecosystem as much as possible, create an overall risk management approach, work with internal stakeholders and implement an appropriate approach to prepare for shortages.
What to do this year:
Develop alternative sources and diversify value chains, create alternative sources, routes, and inventory reserves for high-value supplies, and prepare for how the competition may create new opportunities for the next disruption.