COVID-19 Safe Supplier Operating Standard - Part One



A t the time of writing, the world is dealing with the consequences and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The operating challenges are not a short- term issue - it’s not as though we’re waiting for an ash cloud to disperse – however this is, first and foremost, a tragedy affecting hundreds or thousands of people. It is also causing the biggest disruption in decades, indeed a lifetime, to economies and businesses around the world. From a procurement and supply chain perspective, the disruption is immense, but why? Because COVID-19 is unprejudiced, affecting every geography, industry, and sector. Typically, organisations focus on risks that are easy to predict and are inherent to their supply chain and outsourcing decisions. However, COVID-19 highlighted major gaps in risk planning simply because it wasn’t a “typical” business continuity risk: > It was sudden in nature and escalated quickly. > It had a universal impact on businesses, irrespective of industry or location. > The number of people, families, and businesses affected was extremely high. > It had a far-reaching effect on global and national infrastructure. To paraphrase a quote commonly attributed to President John F. Kennedy in 1963, this was the falling tide that lowered all ships. It wasn’t just a single supplier seeing these effects, it was quite literally all of them.

At the same time as being a huge challenge, difficult times

also bring once-in-a career opportunities.

This paper will address two main themes, highly relevant to supplier management in these difficult times. These themes are important not just because we think so, but because they are the ones our clients want to talk about as we stand in the middle of a pandemic: > Managing risk Managing risk to ensure continuity of supply and cost effectiveness, ultimately to protect business revenue and profit margins. >  The Supplier Management solution How being the customer of choice to your key suppliers can be such an effective risk mitigation strategy. By focusing on learning and adapting (in some cases transforming) how you manage suppliers, you can deliver the supply chain resilience your business needs.



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