Tag Archives: coronavirus

How E-Commerce Has Changed Due To the Coronavirus

The recent months were extremely transforming for many industries. For some, the effects were damaging. But some industries have flourished during the pandemic, like the e-commerce industry. Many small businesses that were inclined to locally selling their goods, or were focused on a physical store, experienced tough times. However, ones with wider customer coverage and a strong online presence seemed to grow their online sales even more.

How has the coronavirus impacted e-commerce customer behavior?

In fact, coronavirus has greatly contributed to e-commerce businesses and changed the way people shop. It all depends on the type of business. For example, bread baking machines were the top-growing category in online sales in the U.S. during April 2020, while the most declining one was luggage cases and swimwear. The majority of businesses that had an established online presence, or quickly reformed to set up on the web, were more successful in maintaining or growing their sales volumes than brick-and-mortar stores.

In the U.S. alone, online retailers’ year-over-year revenue growth is up 68% in April 2020, which is much more than the holiday season peak sales metrics. The main insight to take out of the pandemic’s impact is that it’s not going anyway. Despite the majority of stores are now available for visiting, shoppers don’t rush to get back to physical shopping. In a lockdown, customers have developed and adopted new shopping behaviors and patterns that could be the new normal moving forward, even outside of the pandemic.

According to a study on the coronavirus impact on U.S. E-Commerce, 74.6% of shoppers will avoid shopping at malls and shopping centers even after the lockdown, while 52.3% would pass by the shops in general. 44% of the U.S. shoppers are buying more online in May 2020, and 68% of shoppers are expecting to buy essential goods online.

What are the main e-commerce tips for the long run?

While optimizing your online presence was a useful strategy before the pandemic, now it is a must for surviving the current market environment. Retailers should look for more opportunities and technologies to attract and retain their online customers. Now, seamless shopping experience matters more than ever. Providing your customers with frictionless platform navigation, shopping, and service is key to hitting the mark.

It is crucial to monitor changes in customer habits and shopping patterns, and react to them accordingly. Account security and a personalized, smooth shopping experience is believed to be the main focus of e-commerce businesses to enhance their sales and customer retention. A retailer landscape is already changing, and these shifts are to stay for the long run.

How Coronavirus Has Disrupted The Meat Supply Chain In The U.S.

Meat supply chains in the U.S. have been severely affected by the coronavirus. In particular, the most hard-hit industry within the food supply chain was meat processing. Since numerous workers have tested positive for COVID-19 on multiple meat plants across the country, the entire supply chain was disrupted.

What is going on with the meat plants?

At the end of April, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the largest meatpacking association in the U.S., has stated that 20 industry workers have died because of the virus, and more than 5,000 were infected or hospitalized. Meat plants were forced to shut down, as they have become the cluster of infection, which caused a lack of meat supply to retailers. According to UFCW, the factories’ closure resulted in a 25% drop in pork slaughter and a 10% drop in beef production.

How has the coronavirus disrupted the meat supply chain?

The issue became known nationwide, which has resulted in panic-buying among consumers, with all the meat products being sold out from grocery stores, fast food, restaurants, and supermarkets. The retailers have responded with setting up purchasing limits to stop overbuying. Now, with multiple meat processing plants being shut down across the country, farmers don’t have a place to sell their products. With high supply and high demand, meat supply chains suffer from a severe disruption in the processing sector.

The U.S. has the largest rate of meat consumption per capita, which clearly means a crisis in the meat supply chain can’t go unnoticed. The issue became so critical that the White House initiated the Defense Production Act to ensure the proper supply of meat in the stores.

What is wrong with America’s food supply chains?

Apparently, the disruption of the meat supply chain appears to be solely an American issue. In Europe, which has also been hard hit with the impacts of the pandemic, there are no signs of meat industry disruption. Why is that? In fact, the trouble with the U.S. meat processing industry is that it is extremely centralized and consolidated, while in the UK or Italy, meat vendors are usually small, local, and independent companies.

The monopoly of certain companies, like Tyson Foods Inc., which accounts for almost two-thirds of the entire meat processing in the U.S., has made meat supply chains hardly dependent and interconnected. Eventually, this is the reason for also making it extremely vulnerable to the damage. Hopefully, the industry will drift towards building a more resilient supply chain to prevent such a situation in the future.

How To Get Back To The Office After Quarantine

As many employees around the globe are right now, you are probably in quarantine or working from home. While there won’t be a national go-back-to-office day, one day you will have to return to your physical workplace. Many people miss having a comfortable place to work and communicate with their colleagues, but returning to the office after quarantine may be challenging.

Firstly, after 1-2 months of isolation, your habits and schedule have probably changed a lot. With that being said, going back to normal won’t really feel normal. Physically and mentally, it will be hard to get back on track, and you will definitely need time to adjust. Work in the office won’t be the same either, because companies are implementing custom solutions for their employees and will most likely set up a safety policy, like social distancing, wearing a mask, or checking your body temperature.

To minimize the damage, you can start getting ready for your comeback right now. Using several simple tips can help a smooth transition.

How to get back to the office after quarantine?

Fix your sleep schedule

Let’s face it, your sleep schedule is broken. In quarantine, it seems like the day merges with the night, and it’s quite difficult to stick to the usual schedule when you don’t have to get ready for work and commute. But this is the primary reason why return to office routine may be painful. Start getting back to a normal schedule as soon as possible, or at least 1-2 weeks before the due date.

Stop wearing pajamas

Another comforting yet quite distracting thing is spending your entire remote month in loungewear or pajamas. It can be very tempting to skip wearing nice clothes to Zoom meetings, but while this feels comfortable, dressing in a more presentable manner increases your chances to set up a productive mood and get work done. Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit, but switching your sweatpants for relaxed jeans will do the job. If you don’t want to accidentally show up in pajamas on your first day, or deal with an unusual feeling of normal clothes, it’s better to start dressing up properly.

Evaluate your job

Quarantine is a good test for both employers and employees. It is also the time when you rethink your role in the company, your career goals, values, and aspirations. Take the time to evaluate if the company you are currently working at is where you want to be. This time seems to be challenging for switching a job, but there are plenty of possibilities even now.

Be prepared for the new rules

Keep in mind that when you will come back to the office, it will most likely be different. Many employers will require obligatory health checks, keeping distance, partially remote, or other measures that can be unusual. But this is the reality we have to deal with now, and the aftermath period won’t last for too long. Being prepared for all outcomes is the best option.

How Midsize Businesses Can Survive the Coronavirus Crisis

The impact of COVID-19 on human lives is the first thing everyone should worry about. Thousands of deaths around the world have made the virus a huge threat to humanity, in many ways. One of the other ways it impacts us is the impact on global economy. The spread of the disease and restricting measures to contain it have put many businesses in frustrating situations, and even cause people to lose their jobs. Many companies look for effective ways to avoid damage, layoffs, and shutdowns. There are several useful practices that can help midsize and larger businesses to survive the coronavirus crisis.

How midsize businesses can survive the coronavirus crisis

Focus on protecting employees and customers

Companies are already implementing a work-from-home approach for their workers and social distancing practices for those who need to be present. Essentially, ensuring safety measures for those are an inevitable part of the company’s responsibility. Strict non-travel or self-isolation policies are also in place for the majority of businesses. However, some firms will need to take more advanced actions. Although many companies will need to cut costs, it is important to consider less harmful ways to do so. If it is possible, try to avoid laying off employees, or reach a compromise that will leave both sides satisfied.

On the customer side, the main thing businesses will have to provide is good communication and support. Your customers are as worried as you are, but in this challenging time, they will remember your brand’s behavior. It strongly depends on the company’s communication strategy whether your customers will stay loyal to you, or whether you will lose a point of contact. If your services are still available, make sure to clearly communicate that you still operate, or can offer your products or services in any other convenient way for the customer. Out-of-normal situations require out-of normal solutions, so don’t hesitate to rethink and restructure your strategy.

Emergency plan and reformation

It is crucial to outline a few possible outcomes of the evolving situation, and how your business will handle each of them. Gathering with the team and brainstorming your next moves will help prepare and secure yourself in the face of uncertainty. To better understand and analyze the situation, define the most vulnerable and strongest areas of your business, and how you can articulate them to avoid damage. Re-calibrating your inventory, logistics strategy, and sales is essential to adjust to the new conditions. Monitoring how the pandemic evolves will also give businesses a helpful insight on the next moves.

Consider taking the aid package from the government

Once the COVID-19 started hitting the global economy, small businesses were the first to suffer the damage. However, many mid-size and larger businesses have also experienced a substantial impact. The ones who find it very challenging can apply for an aid package from the recently approved governmental $2 trillion stimulus package. According to the statement, businesses with 500 to 10,000 employees can take direct loans with interest rates up to 2%, after qualifying for certain requirements. In particular, the aid has to cover at least 90% of employee paychecks until September 2020.

The Importance of Vaccine Supply Chains

Logistics and transportation powers almost every single industry in the modern economy, including the healthcare system. Transporting medication, hospital equipment, medical supplies, and different vaccines play a crucial role in global health care. Today, medical supply chains and their proper, smooth operation define the success rate of delivered treatment. One crucial branch of health supply transportation is the vaccine supply chain.

How does the vaccine supply chain work?

Essentially, the development and testing of vaccines is the key part. However, the process of transporting it, whether it is at a development stage or mass production, is often underestimated. Recently, the logistical aspect of vaccine production has been under the focus of the World Health Organization (WHO) and many organizations related to the field. Transporting vaccines requires the highest quality of transportation equipment, strict temperature control, and robust operations planning. For instance, cold bricks located too close to the product, or violation of climate control instructions often lead to a high number of wasted products. That’s why increased attention to vaccine shipments is required.

The vaccines supply chain consists of 4 key parts:

  • Product
  • Production
  • Allocation
  • Distribution

When speaking about the immunization supply chain, most people will think about the distribution part of an already prepared vaccine. However, the full cycle implies much more than just that. To fully understand which processes are included in this type of supply chain, it is important to know how the vaccine is actually produced.

Read: How Does the Coronavirus Impact Global Supply Chains?

What does it take to create a vaccine?

A vaccine is basically a lightened version or strain of the virus that is causing the disease. By injecting a mild dose of the virus that cannot grow into a full-sized disease, the human body recognizes a pathogen and start fighting it, eventually developing immunity to it. At this point, creating a vaccine sounds pretty simple, at first. But between taking the part of the virus and injecting it as an antidote, there is a long stage of vaccine development.

Researches need to receive accurate and undamaged samples of the virus. Then, they identify which portion or strain of the virus will be used, and start testing it on animals. Before scientists finally get a working product, and even more, get it into mass production, a decently long period of time has to pass, depending on the type of the disease and vaccine. For example, the estimated time to get a vaccine from the SARS-nCoV-19 is nearly a year. The situation gets even more complicated because many pharmaceutical companies and governmental institutions try to develop immunizations at the same time.

Testing and developing requires transporting research products multiple times to multiple locations. If we are taking the COVID-19 pandemic as an example, the vaccine is already being tested on humans. But are the supply chains reliable and organized enough to increase the speed and efficiency of the vaccine development? With vaccines being a top priority for governments around the world, air flights are still limited. More than 60 percent of medical shipments are carried on passenger planes, which significantly reduces air freight capacity not only for vaccines, but for essential medical supplies, like masks, gloves, protective clothing, and disinfectors as well.

With a general trend in making global supply chains more flexible, resilient and reliable, the focus will likely shift to healthcare supply chains as well.

How Does Coronavirus Impact Global Supply Chains?

The highly contagious virus known as COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China, has now been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. With hundreds of thousands of people infected globally, the coronavirus revealed itself as a huge threat not just for the health industry, but also to the global economy. Supply chains, in particular, are being affected by coronavirus.

Coronavirus impact on the global economy

One of the first to feel the damaging economical impact of the infection was the stock market. The UK index plunged more than 10 percent, making it the worst day since 1987. In France and Germany, the drop was even bigger, falling 12 percent. With Japan’s Nikkei 225 index settling at 4.4 percent lower, the U.S. shares experienced a significant drop on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones plunging by 5.8%. This is the greatest stock fall off since the 2009 financial crisis.

How does coronavirus affect global supply chains?

Such a substantial economic disruption couldn’t leave the supply chains and freight industry untouched. In fact, more than 75 percent of companies have declared their supply chains were disrupted by the unraveling of COVID-19. According to The Harvard Business Review, the peak of the infection hasn’t even started yet, at least in the U.S. It is uncertain what the final damage will look like. But supply chains need to take precautionary measures, and the sooner the better.

To stop the spread of the infection, governments are taking restricting measures to prevent further damage. Particularly, in the U.S., President Trump has suspended all travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days.

How to handle the coronavirus disruption:

Despite that the situation is uncertain, companies can take measures to hinder the damaging effect of the crisis:

  • Have an extended network of carriers and suppliers
  • Analyze and check the parties you are working with, define where exactly they ship from, is it safe, and what safety measures they are taking
  • Think of inventory in advance and buy more supplies if possible
  • Stay in touch with your customers and clients – make sure to provide them will all the necessary information about the changes in operations and other important factors.

With the majority of companies having suffered severe disruption due to this global phenomenon shows just how unprepared supply chains are to such events. Eventually, this proves that risk management, supply chain resilience, flexibility, and safety policy will be among top priorities and trends for businesses in the upcoming years. Most likely, the crisis in the economy will prolong and companies will need time to recover the operations, depending on the current damage they are facing.