How to Keep Your Shop Running During the Coronavirus Crisis

My Post (13).pngCOVID-19 has caused a never-seen global response, so it’s difficult to know what your shop should do. You want to make sure your employees and customers are safe, but you also want to keep your shop open as long as you can. How do you balance these things? Below are four questions with possible solutions to help you think about how to manage the coronavirus crisis in your shop.

What Gets Touched in the Shop?

One of the big things to prevent spreading the coronavirus is considering which things are touched most often by many people. Common examples are doorknobs and counters. If your shop uses an ERP system and has one or two computers on the shop floor, those computers are touched by everyone. Another example is the time clock that employees use to clock in and out. Everyone touches them. Once you’ve identified these things in your shop, you need to sanitize and limit contact with them as much as possible.

Sanitizing doorknobs and counters is simple. All you need is anti-bacterial wipes or cleaning supplies and you’re good to go. Computers and time clocks can be a bit more complicated, especially because you can’t get them wet. Here’s where an ERP system can be the solution. If your ERP system mobile apps, then employees can use their phones instead of the shared office computer. For example, employees can use the Employee Data Collection app on their phones to clock in and out. This limits the number of people touching the same device.

The Employee Data Collection app also lets employees update inventory in real-time. It can keep your shop up-to-date and greatly cut down on the number of people using the office computer. It limits the spread of germs if people are using their personal phones. So, mobile apps can help your shop run more smoothly and help prevent the spread of germs.

Can Anyone Work Remotely?

The best way to stop spreading the coronavirus is to avoid contact with other people that could be sick. For some employees in a shop, this isn’t possible. If they don’t come in, they can’t do their jobs. However, for office employees, they may be able to work remotely. If your ERP system is on the cloud, it’s easy for your office employees to log in on a web browser. All they need is an internet connection and they can get to work. Your office employees may also have the option to remote into their work computers, but using the cloud is a much simpler way to work from home.

Can the Shop Floor be Safer?

Your shop floor may meet OSHA requirements, but with the coronavirus, there are different ways to keep your employees safe and healthy. If you have a larger shop, you could stagger start times to every 10 minutes so there aren’t as many people entering the building at once. It’s recommended that people stay six feet apart, but it can be hard to remember that when you’re working. To help employees stay separated, you could put up partitions or use tape as guidelines on the floor. It just needs to be something that stops employees from standing too close together. – Read more

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How to Maintain eCommerce During Coronavirus

My Post - 2020-03-27T115752.517.pngWhile public health has to be the number one priority during the Coronavirus pandemic, eCommerce companies should be making plans to maintain their business during the current economic volatility. With large scale disruption likely, companies will likely face problems with supply and demand that can seriously impact cash flow. To put your business in the best position it can be, here are some things you may wish to consider.

Product availability issues

As an eCommerce company, you cannot operate if you do not have products to sell. The widescale effects of Coronavirus in China, the origin of so many products and components, means that the supply of many retail goods has already dwindled.

As the pandemic spreads and other countries see reductions in manufacturing capacity, supply is only going to get worse. In all likelihood, employee illness, factory closures and travel restrictions will mean that the products eCommerce companies want to sell will be manufactured at a lower rate and be delivered significantly later.

What then can eCommerce companies do to continue their operations? One solution is to start sourcing these products in areas that haven’t been widely affected by the virus and as time goes on, to look at areas where its impact has receded. Having multiple sources also means you don’t lose your entire supply if one manufacturer or wholesaler goes out of action. Sourcing products domestically can also be helpful as they will not face the same shipping disruption as imported goods.

Product cost issues

With fewer manufacturers or wholesalers working at capacity, many of them are taking advantage of scarcity by increasing their prices. In particular, these companies are prioritising customers who are putting in large orders and paying inflated prices. Smaller eCommerce companies, unfortunately, have been put to the back of the supply queue.

To keep supply going, smaller eCommerce companies may have to look at a wider range of suppliers and accept the higher prices being charged. Whether this cost can be absorbed or passed onto the customer depends on how well-stocked your competitors were before the pandemic began and how well they can absorb the increased costs of new stock themselves.

Cashflow issues

The effects of supply disruption, higher prices and a possible drop in orders means cash flow will be a major concern for all eCommerce companies. To cope with this, businesses will need to reduce spending and find other ways to increase income. With product scarcity likely to be common, there will be less choice for customers. One possible solution that arises from this is to hold on to items that would previously have been put in the sales and to continue selling them at full price to maintain margins.

Another area of consideration is advertising. If there are items in your inventory that are not going to sell because of Coronavirus, travel-related items, for example, then there is little point spending money on advertising them. With all advertising, eCommerce companies need to ensure that ROI is providing the value they need. Focussing on SEO and content marketing to improve organic traffic and shifting towards email marketing which doesn’t have a high acquisition cost, are all ways to bring about efficiencies that can help cash flow over the short term. – Read more

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