Great day to be in studio for the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside John Northcott and Mark Warner, discussing two stories that have been significantly impacting companies: the rail blockades in in protest of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and coronavirus. What’s interesting about these stories, from a business perspective, is that they are good examples of situations that companies would not have expected to occur, but which could bring significant impact.
Coronavirus is impacting companies globally, across a wide range of industries, including transportation, hospitality/tourism, agriculture, retail, and essentially any company that is trying to advance its business within the geographic area(s) where the virus is most widespread: currently, China. Whether a company is impacted due to cancellations and travel advisories or by virtue of decreased demand, it still translates into revenue loss, some of which may have been counted as “sold” before the sale actually occurred (something that tends to happen in the routine of business, or due to the enthusiasm of “counting chickens before they have hatched”). Delays associated with shipments out of China can leave companies abroad scrambling for stock and materials that are integral to manufacturing products and generating sales.
In what can be characterized as a confusing, vicious circle, what are business leaders to do? Companies that have planned for disruption in their supply chain and distribution channels may be much further ahead, in terms of identifying alternate suppliers and routes; these are not areas to be researched in times of crisis. The need for business continuity is an example of why identifying various paths forward in advance is so critical, especially to the key aspects of a company’s operations. Although doing so may not fully resolve every issue, it helps to mitigate the risk and damage that can occur, something that is particularly valuable in times of prolonged disruption.
Business leaders do not always have the time and skillset to work through this important contingency planning, so it is important to remember that advisors can help; it might just be one of the best investments that a company can make.
We will be monitoring these stories in the coming days and weeks. Thanks for watching and see you again soon, CBC!