Richard Wilding, Professor of Supply Chain Strategy at Cranfield University, said: “Major disruption to the global supply chain because of Covid-19 — the Coronavirus — continues, affecting industries from automotive to toys.
"One developing problem is that empty shipping containers are stacked up in Chinese ports and not moving.
"This means that there are shortages of shipping containers in other parts of the globe, resulting in disruptions — not because the products have not been made, but because there is nothing to put them in to move them.
“In China, smaller companies may find it easier to get back up and running, but larger factories may have to go through a cleaning and disinfectant process before staff can fully return, and implement appropriate procedures
to identify potential infections in the workforce, similar to what we have seen at airports. For larger sites, implementing such procedures could take weeks.”
Mr Wilding (www.cranfield.ac.uk
) went on to say that while the term ‘supply chain’ is used, it is in fact a network. “Companies are interlinked, and the network is now global.
"If one region is disrupted, there is a knock-on effect . . . Supply-chain networks can evolve rapidly, and some industries are good at reacting and creating new supply chains, but developing new partnerships can take time.
“China’s manufacturing operations are efficient and technologically advanced — because of local and Western investment — but alternative regions may not have these capabilities.
"Understanding the flow of products geographically, which ports and countries they go in and out of, is useful intelligence and will help companies monitor their supply chains.
"These principles apply not just to the disruption caused by Covid-19 but also to other events such as earthquakes, floods and storms.
"Companies should be continually monitoring and gaining intelligence to ensure that their supply chain is robust; collaborative relationships are key to this.”
Covid-19 is also affecting trade events. For example, Arburg Technology Days 2020 (due to be held 11-14 March in Lossburg) has been cancelled; this annual company event usually attracts around 6,000 invited guests from all over the world. METAV 2020
, the ‘International Exhibition for Metalworking Technologies” — scheduled to be held in Düsseldorf 10-13 March — has been postponed. Another cancellation is the 90th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show
, which was scheduled for 5-15 March. Tube & Wire Düsseldorf
(30 March-2 April) has been postponed, as have SIMTOS
in Korea (new dates 5-9 October 2020) and GrindTec 2020
; this had been scheduled for 18-21 March at the Augsburg Trade Fair Centre in Germany but is now postponed until November.