Afternoon Coffee: Coronavirus, China and supply chain delays; Tesla batteries; Apple, Taiwan and India; vertical farming

slasnyi/Adobe Stock

The coronavirus in China has killed 361 people and infected 17,205 people there, The Associated Press reports Monday according to Chinese health officials’ update.

The effort to stem the spread has limited travel and business traffic, so companies are having to check on their supply chains to plan for any disruptions.

Spend Matters Europe’s Editor Nancy Clinton heard from risk experts at Resilinc and others to advise businesses on handling this crisis.

Spend Matters analyst Magnus Bergfors noted that procurement technology into risks and supplier management can help in these tough situations.

“This outbreak, and the consequences of it, shows the importance of having visibility and control over your supply chain and not necessarily only you first-tier suppliers,” Bergfors said. “And listening to the experts, it seems like we unfortunately will see more of these types of horrific events that will impact our increasingly complex and sensitive supply chains. So if you are in the manufacturing space and haven’t invested in supply chain visibility and risk management capabilities, now is the time!”

Bindiya Vakil, Founder and CEO of Resilinc, gave an interesting and informed online talk about what we know and what firms need to be thinking about to help avoid supply chain disruption as much as possible. She also reminded us of the disruption at a humanitarian level too. Millions of people are affected as several cities there are locked down. China is building medical facilities and is dealing with a shortage of some medical supplies.

But she also stressed the importance of investing in business continuity, because companies with better foresight can act quickly. Firms that haven’t done this, she said, are most vulnerable.

Key considerations:

  • Supply chain mapping— (If you haven’t done this, now is not the time to start. This is something you need to do in times of non-disruption.)
  • Keep up communication with all stakeholders— Your business and customers and suppliers. The worst thing you can do is keep them guessing. You need to tell them your plans as information unfolds. For example, “If X conditions are met, these are the plans we will follow.”
  • Know your inventory
  • Work out ‘what-if’ scenarios— What if closures go beyond February? What happens if it is March, or even April?

Spend Matters Europe also spoke briefly to Ian Nethercot, the supply chain director for managed IT support and services provider Probrand who writes a monthly column for Spend Matters Europe on IT supply chain developments, and he echoed the advice for tech buyers:

“Communicating with your suppliers to ask the right questions is key,” Nethercot said. “For example, when getting quoted lead times from your supplier, ask them if they have checked all the way up to the supply chain to ensure there are no constraint issues. Additionally, is the stock you are waiting for already in transit or is it still in the factory in China? … It may be best to consider buying product that is actively in stock now.’’

The Washington Post also looks at the battle to contain the Chinese coronavirus as it threatens to cut off U.S. companies from parts and materials they need to produce iPhones, automobiles and appliances — and to halt access to drugs to treat medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure and malaria.

Read the full Spend Matters Europe post here.

China's top electric battery maker signs agreement with Tesla

CATL, one of China’s top electric vehicle battery maker has tied-up a with Tesla for its battery supply.

Tesla will determine the battery purchase volume between July 2020 and June 2022, according to its own needs, CATL said in a stock exchange filing, adding the agreement does not impose restrictions on Tesla’s purchase volume.

Taiwan's Apple supplier to assemble iPhone circuit boards in India: Reuters

Reuters quotes sources saying that Taiwan-based Wistron Corp. will assemble printed circuit boards (PCBs) for iPhones at its new plant in south India. Wistron’s second iPhone plant in Bangalore is expected to become operational by April.

How vertical farming is changing the farm-to-fork supply chain

Forbes takes an in-depth look at indoor vertical farming, which is starting to garner a great deal of attention as investors pour money into the industry. “At the leading firms, vertical farming is a big data, high tech endeavor,” Forbes said in the article, which details two benefits to the supply chain: shorter distances from production to consumers and less space needed to grow the same amount of food on a larger area of land.

Share on Procurious

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.