Post-Pandemic Readiness: Supply Chain Management
May 6, 2020
Since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, organizations have been implementing business continuity plans as they adapted in response to varying social distancing and quarantine restrictions being enforced around the world. Now, as countries are easing these restrictions and gradually reopening businesses, parks, and restaurants alike, organizations and relocation management companies are preparing for the changes that will come with returning to “business as normal” post the COVID-19 pandemic.
As mobility managers are working to establish smooth transitions as they implement their mobile assignments, BGRS continues to work with supplier partners to ensure readiness for our clients and their mobile employees.
Below are key areas for mobility managers to consider as they prepare for resuming their mobility programs’ activity:
As mobility managers explore releasing the holds that were put on assignment starts, one area to consider that will be impacted by volume influx and may cause relocation delays is household goods shipments. Household goods packing and shipping dates most often are scheduled for the first and last week of the month. Scheduling these events in the middle of the month can help reduce strain on volume increases and potentially reduce shipment delays.
In addition, air shipments are expected to be the most challenging to arrange as medical supplies will be priority shipments, potentially delaying personal goods shipments. Wherever possible, these shipments should be avoided if other opportunities are present, such as containerized shipments. If air shipments are necessary, increasing allowances for baggage in lieu of traditional air shipments can allot for faster transit times.
When utilizing containerized shipments, it is recommended to consolidate shipments into fewer larger containers, as they are subject to greater availability, rather than utilize multiple smaller containers. However, it is important to note the shipment time to ensure it does not create any shipping delays.
When it comes to temporary living arrangements, inventory may become sparse when COVID-19 restrictions subside, and travel experiences an influx. Temporary living suppliers are determining ways to guarantee spaces will be available at the time of the mobile employee’s arrival at the host location with advanced volume notification. One example of this is some suppliers are exploring offering master lease programs that allow mobility managers to lease temporary apartments on long-term leases (that are typically a one-year lease). This would enable mobility program managers to then cycle mobile employees into a specific market to live in these apartments as needed to maintain residency in all units.
Another option being examined in the temporary living market is advanced deposit programs. Under this approach, clients would post larger, non-refundable deposits in return of the guarantee a future rental will be available when the arrival time of the mobile employee is decided. In similarity, a pre-paid rental option that allows clients to offer full payment of the temporary apartments in advanced to secure the unit within seven days of the mobile employee’s arrival is available.
With the question of how business will change long-term post-pandemic is still unanswered, destination and departure services may become even more essential to the success of relocations. Suppliers are evolving their offerings to reflect social distancing, while being able to accommodate an increase in volume. As many organizations are doing so now, suppliers will continue to provide virtual tours of apartments or single-family homes during the home finding process. Suppliers can also help mobile employees be prepared for their host location by opening banking accounts, securing a car, and taking virtual tours of international or private schools prior to arrival in their host country. Destination and departure services can vary based on the host country post-pandemic, so mobility managers can contact their BGRS representative to discuss solutions and offerings that may fit their programs’ and mobile employees’ needs.
Looking beyond COVID-19, as countries begin to lift the immigration restrictions and travel bans set in place during the pandemic, BGRS suppliers are offering assessments of clients’ needs to develop tailored strategies while preparing for international moves. This includes, reviewing and handling immigration supporting documents and submission of such documents to ensure all items are in place while some governments are still working with limited capabilities during this time.
Situations can be unique to a client or supplier partner. In order to forecast departure destinations for our suppliers and to best prepare mobile employees, while understanding their requirements, it is advisable that mobility managers authorize moves sooner, and plan to place them on hold if necessary. This allows the mobile employee to engage in planning, sharing requirements, collecting documents, and establishing preliminary timelines, enabling a comfortable, yet accelerated, start to their assignment when government restrictions are lifted. Please contact your BGRS representative for assistance determining which options are most suitable for your mobility program needs.
As businesses prepare to open post-pandemic, one thing that is certain is the way organization’s handle “business as normal” will change. Mobility managers can increase the likelihood of their mobility programs being reinstated smoothly by focusing on key trends and best practice recommendations that relate to destination services, immigration, household good shipments, and temporary living.