The corona virus and its effect on the ability of companies to deliver

Media reports on the corona virus are now taking on a hype-like character. But right now the motto is: Don’t panic! It’s not the time to be driven crazy by news from the tabloids, Facebook or Instagram. It is time to keep a calm head. The question is: “What must and can be done now to get through the situation safely? Trustworthy sources such as the Robert Koch Institute or the Federal Ministry of Health offer reliable, validated information and effective behavioral measures. For companies we refer to the recommendations of the Alliance for Security in Business / ASW (German only).

Contacts from the field of Crisis or Continuity Management in large companies have confirmed that current events around the Corona epidemic currently require their full attention. In many cases, the functionality of production and delivery processes is highly endangered in view of the high dependence on supplies from China. While in the days of SARS it was 3%, China’s current contribution to the global economy (GDP) is already 16%. In view of the duration of transport routes, it is to be expected that the effects on production processes in our country will be delayed.

What can be done in the short term to be prepared for critical situations and an escalating situation? Here are a few tips from the consulting practice:

  • Convene appropriate committees and prepare for a longer period of time to deal with the event. Are you prepared for Crisis Management “from a distance”?
  • Arrange the incoming information in “situation fields” and thus reduce complexity
  • Get an overview of “the situation” and get an idea of where your required deliveries come from
  • Make a realistic “impact analysis” and distinguish between best case and worst case
  • Define the goals of your Crisis Management Team and prioritize your measures
  • Develop suitable measures, commission them and monitor their implementation
  • Reactivate existing emergency plans and check their usability
  • Optimize the work of the Crisis Management Team through the use of suitable digital media
  • Ensure communication with any regional staff that may be present
  • Communicate actively with customers, media and other stakeholders; proactively draw attention to any bottlenecks
  • Check your insurance policies; many business interruption policies do not cover losses due to such an event.

“Small” companies are affected to a different extent than large, internationally operating corporations, which often have a distinct, institutionalized safety culture with extensive precautionary measures. The obvious case of Webasto, a supplier to the automotive industry, shows that medium-sized companies in particular can be painfully affected: several employees fall ill, head office temporarily closed.

A “virus” is equally dangerous in the real and digital world. Many recommendations for behavior from real life are transferable 1:1: Basic hygiene and distance to infected or dubious sources as well as emergency measures in current cases. In practice, it makes no difference to a company whether operations are at a standstill because employees are not available due to an epidemic or because IT has been brought down by a virus. In addition to the necessary reaction in acute cases, it is again apparent that preventive components are also necessary.
Do you need concrete support or further information on how to quickly develop and effectively implement contingency plans in this situation, e.g. to react to supply chain failures, defuse crisis situations, communicate explosive situations or implement travel and behavioral measures? Get in touch with us! We would be happy to discuss this topic with you in a direct conversation. In the medium term, we would be pleased to welcome you to a relevant seminar in our training center. You can download the current seminar brochure here (German only). We will also be happy to send you a copy. Please take note of our extended seminar offer and get an overview of our consulting services on our new website.

We look forward to talking to you

Klaus Bockslaff and Mathias Götsch