Kathryne Young

Five Supply Chain Tips for COVID-19

Supply Chain Tips for COVID-19 The world of Supply Chain management changed in the first quarter of 2020. As the coronavirus spreads, and more and more people are affected by COVID-19, supply chains around the world continue to be heavily impacted. This blog shares five supply chain tips for COVID-19.


While Asia struggles to ramp up again, the US and Canada are now on the forefront of Supply Chain disruptions. Unprecedented, this is a significant impact to North American businesses. Until the peak of the virus is reached and recovery begins, organizations are faced with increasingly restrictive capacity both in their businesses and in their supply chains.

So where do we go from here?

As an engineering company, our supply chain is always bumpy. Demand comes and goes throughout the development cycle with generally small quantity purchases and quick lead time requirements. Our purchasers have the following supply chain tips for COVID-19 and those who are not used to this environment.

  • Keep your suppliers close by touching base and inquiring about tier 2 and 3 supplier impacts. Are raw materials available? Are lead times extending? Are their suppliers’ factories functioning at a lower capacity than normal? Knowing what’s going on along the chain can give you an indication of how your own materials plan will be impacted.
  • Review your supplier development efforts to evaluate supply chain risk. Your most dependable and customer focused suppliers will be your saving grace in uncertain times.
  • Reach out to your suppliers and ask how you can help. You can expect surprises during this time. Taking a few extra steps with your suppliers to try to help them problem solve can help smooth the path to resolution.
  • Don’t forget logistics! Customs officials are also impacted and things may slow down at the border. Carriers are on the front line for infection, so services may be impacted by lack of staff. Expect that extra time may be needed to get parts through the door.
  • Plan additional time for safety procedures required for incoming receiving and inspection when you do get your parts. Make sure your staff are equipped with clear procedures for decontamination and hygiene requirements.

Supply Chain constraints in the age of COVID-19 are troubling and there will be a lot of unknowns in the weeks and months to come. Stay calm. Stay connected with your supply base. Most of all, stay safe.

Image Credit: ID 132530625 © Jm10 | Dreamstime.com

Kathy Young is the StarFish Medical Purchasing Manager. Kathy takes a proactive approach to engaging suppliers with the development team throughout the design process.

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