As businesses soldier on during the global COVID-19 outbreak, shippers and supply chain managers need reliable strategies in order to adapt to the new normal. 

While city, state, and national governments may be responding to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus in different ways, one thing that is content for everyone involved is change. From employees working remotely from home and manufacturing hubs curtailing operations to the spike in e-commerce spending and other shifts in consumer behavior, the economic impact of COVID-19 has been swift and decisive. 

For shippers caught in this international lurch, it may not be immediately apparent what the best way is to respond to the pandemic’s manifold logistics challengers. Supply chains face serious disruption, businesses have seen supply and demand dynamics evolve overnight, and import/export operations have become more convoluted as countries institute different types of travel bans. In short, the logistics landscape looks radically different than it did just one month ago. 

This means that many organizations — small and mid-sized businesses especially — are on their own in terms of navigating an unprecedented level of humanitarian and economic uncertainty. As companies plot their paths forward and attempt to meet their customers’ needs, it’s critical that they adopt resilient logistics strategies that can protect their workers, secure their supply chains, and ensure their business continuity.

1. Assess Your Risks

First, shippers need to take time to assess their risks and prepare accordingly. If stress points haven’t already been identified throughout their supply chains at this point, it’s important that stakeholders map them and analyze how they might affect the rest of the supply chain down the line. For instance, working with suppliers, vendors, and other providers deep into your supply chain can help you pinpoint where disruptions might occur and what steps will need to be taken to respond. 

From here, decision-makers can then get into the specifics to better understand their risks. Where are particularly critical bottlenecks? How long until they surpass crisis levels? By developing a thorough picture of how your business partners are responding to this situation, you can then work with your internal teams to adjust your supply chain strategies and ensure business continuity.

2. Emphasize Customer Service

While businesses urgently need to figure out how their particular responses to this new normal, it’s equally urgent that they continue to emphasize the customer experience. Right now, consumers are just as unsure as businesses what the next few weeks and months hold. Accordingly, businesses that go the extra mile to put their customers front and center will earn their trust during the COVID-19 outbreak and — importantly — afterward.

To do so, shippers should do everything in their power to keep their customers informed about anything that might affect their experience. If disruptions throughout the supply chain might delay orders, it’s important to let customers know and provide them with an updated fulfillment timeline. If businesses are noticing that consumer behavior is shifting and that certain products are becoming more popular during lockdown, it’d be wise to adapt accordingly — and let customers know about your efforts — so that you can meet evolving client needs. 

3. Invest in a 3PL

Finally, shippers should invest in partnerships with trusted and experienced logistics providers to better adapt to the pandemic’s unique challenges. While larger enterprises may have the internal infrastructure needed to weather global uncertainty, small and mid-sized businesses are likely struggling to adapt on their own. By leveraging the expertise and resources of a third-party logistics provider, these companies can ensure their business continuity in a logistics landscape dominated by volatility. 

With two-plus decades of experience in international and domestic shipping and logistics, Primary Freight is strategically positioned to help businesses navigate such a volatile market. Whether you’re looking to streamline your supply chain with a comprehensive integrated logistics program or you’re interested in targeted support for your project cargo operation in an unpredictable market, our award-winning customer service team can help. Reach out today to learn how Primary Freight can help secure and support your supply chain. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Primary Freight’s award-winning shipping services, contact us today at (800)-635-0013.