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What Is the COVID-19 Impact on Your Supply Chain? We Surveyed the Transplace Network.

Posted - May 13, 2020

What Is the COVID-19 Impact on Your Supply Chain? We Surveyed the Transplace Network.

In early February, as news of the novel coronavirus began to break into the news cycle, the Transplace team began reporting on the impacts of COVID-19 on the global supply chain. As we provided updates in the weeks that followed, the impacts of the disruption continue to affect businesses, consumers, and the worldwide economy. Our mission is to continue to support our customers and partners with the latest information as well as expert best practices in navigating these unique challenges. Last week, we surveyed Transplace’s network of customers of $9+ billion of freight under management to reveal the impacts of the pandemic. Here are the results of those responses.

Industries Represented

Logistics leaders in a variety of industries shared their challenges and lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Of those surveyed:

  • 81% use Transplace’s Transportation Management System (TMS)
  • 24% use SaaS TMS
  • 19% use Capacity Services
  • 14% use Intermodal
  • 10% or less are in Canada, Mexico or Europe

Business Impacts

As expected with the “shelter in place” orders, every survey respondent had to adapt to new ways of conducting business with 100% reporting the implementation of work-from-home or similar remote work policies. New telecommuting options and the rapid spread of the virus also lead to a change in business priorities. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed noted the prioritization of the safety and well-being of employees over business performance. Cutting costs and looking for alternative supply sources were also prioritized along with making new budget revisions to adapt to the changes in the global supply chain. The logistics survey also revealed that only 28.5% felt that their business continuity plan was well-suited to accommodate the challenges of the pandemic.

Supply Chain and Revenue Impacts

Most (81%) of survey respondents experienced impacts to their supply chain during the COVID-19 crisis thus far. Two-thirds of those admitted to minor impacts to their supply chain with 23.8% feeling that the pandemic impact was more severe. Looking to the future, the majority of logistics leaders surveyed felt that it would take one to three months to get their supply chain back to normal. Even more telling were the responses from business leaders to the question: What is the most difficult challenge your supply chain is facing at this time? Key answers included:

  • Keeping up with demands
  • Uncertainty, being flexible and adjusting to the fluidity of the situation
  • Rebalancing of networks
  • Delivery disruptions
  • Gathering accurate data
  • Inventory and storage constraints
  • Keeping employees safe

Those surveyed also provided an estimate of the revenue decline since March 1, when the United States began making policy changes in response to the virus. Unexpectedly, some industries will fare better than others, but 28.5% of our survey respondents reported a revenue decrease of 0 – 25%. Logistics leaders in our survey also shared how the changes in revenue affect their supply chain:

  • Impacts on warehouse space
  • Increase in 3PL workload
  • Long term picture still unclear due to different business lines
  • Increase in expedited freight due to material shortages
  • Depleted inventory due to customer demand
  • Less FTL and more LTL

Overall Results and Reaction

The COVID-19 Shipper Impact Survey offers insights from business leaders within the Transplace network in response to the pandemic and its impact on their supply chains. Survey respondents, overall, still face uncertainty and lean heavily on the real-time data provided by Transplace technology. Being adaptable is important, as well as the care the safety of company employees. In closing, we asked our respondents if there were any closing comments they would like to offer. The majority shared nothing but thanks and recognition to all of those who are continuing to work and provide necessary services to all of us. We at Transplace join with them in offering gratitude and appreciation for the truck drivers and those in the medical profession for facing this crisis on the front lines. We are all in this together. Have you noticed similar results in your supply chains and business?