The Coronavirus pandemic has had a substantial impact on the supply chain industry, causing lengthy delays and other logistical challenges. Given the rapidly changing face of logistics during the pandemic, it is advisable to create a contingency plan sooner rather than later so you can have quick access to contacts for 3PL providers if you suddenly find your supply chain business in a bind. Below are some of our suggestions for viable warehouse contingency plans during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Before making arrangements for a contingency plan, it necessary to assess your current situation to identify your expectations for the services of a 3PL provider as well as how the Coronavirus pandemic could impact the availability of certain services. This assessment should be thorough and include mapping out every core process and procedure within the warehouse.
Specifically, list operations that are central to your business and draw a map of how they are carried out on the warehouse floor. Without a careful assessment, it may be difficult to identify ways to minimize risks or challenges related to the pandemic, such as an outbreak among the workforce or regulatory issues regarding protocols.
A helpful mental exercise involves anticipating the worst-case scenario and taking steps to mitigate the harm before it ever occurs. Identifying these issues before they become a problem is best practice for any warehouse manager.
A single contingency plan is rarely enough for a large warehouse. After all, multiple issues could arise from the pandemic alone. Every potential issue highlighted during your assessment may benefit from its own contingency plan.
Every contingency plan will have a specific trigger that initiates it. These triggers could include an outbreak of the virus within the facility or a failure somewhere in the supply chain.
In addition to highlighting trigger points, it is also necessary to develop a strategy for every warehouse contingency plan. These strategies begin with identifying key players and their responsibilities. It is useful to identify each role in the warehouse and corresponding responsibilities to ensure workers understand exactly what is expected of them if a contingency plan is triggered.
A strategy is only as effective as a workforce’s ability to implement it. This means that training may be necessary to ensure that everyone understands what steps are needed when the plan goes into effect.
Making the most of a contingency plan is only possible if everyone involved therein understands their role. The best way to ensure employee understanding is to clearly and effectively communicate your intentions for a contingency plan. This can be achieved by informing top-level employees first and then disseminating the information down the chain of command.
The timely assistance of an experienced 3PL provider could make a substantial difference during a crisis. To learn more about how Brown West Logistics can help you create a warehouse contingency plan during the COVID-19 pandemic, call right away.