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Novel Coronavirus Endangers Global Supply Chains. Steps  Companies Can Take

CoronaVirus has shut down borders and dramatically affected supply chains.This morning over 75,000 cases of the Coronavirus were reported and experts anticipate that Japan could be on the cusp of a major outbreak. In addition to stressing the healthcare industry and having negative impacting on the travel, retail and hospitality industry -- with IHG being the latest hotel company to report major revenue impact in China -- the Coronavirus is beginning to have major impact on global supply chains. Because of the steps governments need to take in order to halt the virus’s spread, supply chains that originate in China are being curtailed, or even entirely shut down. That’s bad news for companies large and small, with some businesses expected to take significant hits on their earnings. However, the proper use of mobile technologies and mobile apps can help companies decrease their risk, say experts. In this article, I’ll outline how global supply chains are being interrupted, and detail how mobile can help.

Disruptions to Global Supply Chains

The virus has caused disruptions to the supply chains of multiple industries, although Forbes reports that the “technology, electronics and auto sectors are the most vulnerable to impacts from Coronavirus.” And it’s not just manufacturing’s supply chains that may be disrupted. So are supply chains for construction companies, making it difficult or impossible for them to get building supplies.

The city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, is a manufacturing hub. Wuhan has been in a lockdown, and manufacturers including Apple, Honda and Nissan and others are seeing significant problems with production. Other manufacturers affected by the virus include Dell Technologies, HP, Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung, Qorvo, Skyworks Solutions, MagnaChip Semiconductor, and Amkor Technologies, according to another Forbes article. Manufacturers that make building supplies, such as Hanmero and Wuhan Seasonstone Quartz Building Material Co., Ltd. are headquartered in Wuhan as well.

CNBC points to several analysts that warn of the virus’s effects on production.  International Data Corporation said China’s smartphone shipments for the three months ending in March may by more than 30% less compared to the same period a year ago. IDC also warned that the virus would “create uncertainty in product launch plans, the supply chain, and distribution channels, in the mid and long term.”

Gone are the days when a manufacturer or a construction company can easily move from one provider to another for parts. Forbes points out, “Today’s sophisticated supply chains took a decade to optimize. Finding alternatives for high-end manufacturing is not trivial, and the assumptions on finding alternatives are probably optimistic. Even if the capabilities are there, any surge in demand will overwhelm these secondary suppliers.”

 Razat Gaurav, the CEO of LLamasoft told Forbes, “This is a wake-up call for companies thinking about designing a supply chain. Risk and resiliency need to be part of the design.”

How Mobile Can Help with Supply Chain Disruptions

Mobile technologies can play a major role in handling risk and building resiliency into supply chains for both manufacturers and construction companies. The article, “How Mobile Apps are Changing the Supply Chain & Logistics industry?” points out several ways they help. Logistic services such as packing, transportation, warehousing, managing and maintaining the stock inventory are vital to supply chains. The article notes, “A mobile app gives you the best ways to address such growing demands for logistics services. You can also capture and analyze customer’s data to reduce errors, if any, and make your service even more efficient to stay ahead of the competition.”

In addition, mobile apps make it easier to acquire and analyze data, which is the lifeblood of any supply chain. Apps strengthen communications across supply chains, make it easier to identify and plug performance gaps in chains, manage warehouses better, improve overall efficiency, and more.

In addition, according to the article, “How are Mobile Apps Changing the Supply Chain Industry,” mobile apps offer real-time visibility into the supply chain, increasing flexibility, dynamic tracking of goods and products, and increasing collaboration.  Better using the supplies you have, can help you decrease risk and anticipate or avoid shortages.

Respond to Business Challenges with Mobile Apps

To build better supply chains, manufacturers and construction companies need the right development platform. Alpha TransForm is designed to help manufacturers and construction companies digitally transform their businesses. Alpha TransForm allows employees to craft online or offline mobile apps in minutes that utilize the latest mobile features (camera, GPS, etc.) for fast, accurate data capture. The resulting apps can then tie into any corporate system of record to make the data available for use immediately, or to power workflow processes that initiate an emergency stop, take corrective action or trigger order replacement. See how you can build a powerful manufacturing app in minutes with Alpha Transform. You can build your own app or give one of our manufacturing apps a try: for example, our Gemba Walk App or our Non-Conformance Reporting App.

Get a free trial of Alpha TransForm.

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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