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Relocate and Reassign Capacity during Covid-19

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In the past decades, an important focus used to be efficiency and scalability. This has led to consolidation and concentration of many functions, suppliers and service providers. In times of crisis and disruption, the downside of this could be a higher vulnerability to events like travel bans, lock-down of countries, companies going bankrupt, scarcity of goods and many more.

Introduction

COVID-19 as well as measures from national governments and individual companies will impact your business and the business of your clients, vendors, partners and service providers. What kind of impact and the extent thereof depends on your industry and varies per country and in time

Whatever the situation is for your business, it will require some serious adjustments to meet the changing demand, to secure the continuity of support to your clients and to secure the continuity of your operations.

This is one of the 3 main sections from the "Ultimate Guide for Phase 1 - Rapid Response to Mitigate the Immediate Impact of Covid"

phase-1-rapid-response-covid-overview

 


Regarding Relocate and Reassign Capacity:

In the past decades, an important focus used to be efficiency and scalability. This has led to consolidation and concentration of many functions, suppliers and service providers. In times of crisis and disruption, the downside of this could be a higher vulnerability to events like travel bans, lock-down of countries, companies going bankrupt, scarcity of goods and many more.

This article concentrates on short-term interventions to distribute capacity in times of crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak. Potential longer-term adjustments to achieve more resilient and anti-fragile operating models will be covered in phase 2 – Review & Outlook and Phase 3 – Redesign & Innovate.

Risks to address

  • Single points of failure in (human) resources and the supply chain
  • Allocation of capacity is not aligned with shifting demand for capacity
  • Part of the team members being dismissed and disengaged, as their work is not critical at the moment

Goal

  • Decrease of vulnerability
  • Spread of risks and points of failure
  • Maximum utilisation of capacity
  • Everyone is involved and contributes

Main aspects

  • Critical teams
  • Inventory
  • Alternative jobs
  • 2nd sourcing
  • Capacity allocation
  • Rapid training

Critical teams

A big risk for business continuity during a virus outbreak is entire teams with critical functions dropping out because they are infected. Examples of such teams are management and leadership teams, technical expert teams (3rd line support), process develop teams and help desk and field service engineers.

Measures you can take to avoid a high level of infections and drop out in such teams are:

  • Minimise presence at the offices, warehouses and workshops as much as possible
  • Never let team members be at the same location, keep them separated
  • If the teams are larger and/or physical presence is required to perform the job, split the team in groups and avoid any contact between the different groups

Inventory

A central inventory of spare parts and tools for an internationally operating manufacturer can impact the availability of spare parts for certain regions, because of limitations of logistic service providers and closed country borders.

Spreading the inventory over multiple locations across multiple countries and regions will increase your flexibility to find a way to get spare parts to certain countries.

Alternative jobs

Whatever changes in demand and availability of resources for critical functions, the chances are big that a large part of your team members will have too little work to do. Instead of allowing them to sit at home with hardly any work, it will be beneficial for the entire business as well as the engagement of these team members to still be involved and active.

Some of the leading manufacturers established a practice of maintaining a list of alternative jobs from which people can pick work to execute. Examples are;

  • Filling and improving the knowledge database
  • Capturing customer feedback
  • Doing additional training, which was on the back-burner for too long

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2nd Sourcing

Particularly when spare parts come from one or a few suppliers or from your own factories, the spare parts availability will be at higher risk during the crisis.

Leading manufacturers rapidly established the following practices to secure spare parts availability as much as possible;

  • Find additional sourcing for spare parts, particular the critical ones
  • Contract several logistic service providers
  • Contract several partners and subcontractors
  • Establish best practices for supplier and partnership management and qualification 

Some of them were already working on this before the COVID-19 crisis, as their vision was to avoid single sources of failure anyway.

Capacity Allocation

Certain team members and functions in your business will see a drop of the workload while others may see an increase, maybe combined with a drop of the capacity.

This can lead to an undesirable and critical mismatch between demand and supply of capacity.

An important measure is to reassign team members to other jobs where the workload is (temporarily) high. Examples are;

  • Field service engineers working in the factory to secure production
  • Field service engineers working at the help desk or customer support
  • Salespeople working for customer support, proactively contacting client to discuss demand and possibilities to continue support
  • Team members working on data and information gathering from external sources as well as internal operations for rapid escalation and decision making
  • Have backup plans in case the capacity in certain other functions drops out

Rapid Training

For many team members their jobs will change completely during the crisis or they will at least see serious changes in dynamics and challenges.

Examples are;

  • Engaging with clients online instead of face-2-face
  • Getting more diagnostic information from clients via the phone
  • Running webinars with clients
  • Remote troubleshooting and diagnostics
  • Building confidence with anxious clients

 

Download the full Guide for Phase 1 - Rapid Response

 

 

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