Six Steps to Prepare for a Pandemic

Six Steps to Prepare for a Pandemic

The swine flu virus will have a significant impact on global supply chains, a consultant with supply chain management services firm Ariba warns.

Kris Colby, a director with Ariba’s spend management services group, has some advice for U.S. logistics managers — especially air cargo shippers and freight forwarders.

In a post on Ariba’s Supply Excellence blog, Colby offers the following tips:

1. If you are sourcing in Mexico, begin planning now for supply chain disruptions so you can mitigate any negative impact on your business.

2. If there is a pandemic outbreak, airlines will significantly decrease the aircraft they are operating. This will significantly impact their ability to carry air freight.

3. During SARS and Bird Flu, air cargo carriers operated at full capacity. Large air freight shippers may want to begin to spread their freight among commercial and cargo carriers now, as shipments carried by commercial airlines could be vulnerable.

4. Adjust safety stock to be less reliant on hot-spot countries like Mexico.

5. In Mexico specifically, companies should request additional shipments to keep their stock intact should the Mexican government extend its partial business shutdown.

6. Monitor Center for Disease and Control Prevention and World Health Organization Web sites to keep abreast of latest developments and adjust your strategies.

“The bottom line is, it’s not time to panic, but it is time to prepare,” said Colby, who specializes in strategic sourcing and risk reduction for consumer goods manufacturers.

In addition, the Business Travel Coalition launched a swine flu dashboard May 1 for those interested in keeping track of real-time global news and government feeds, including tweets from the CDC and updates from the WHO.