Roundup: Changing Business Dynamics Due to COVID-19

We’re looking for ways to stay optimistic about our global time-out due to the coronavirus. Be positive, as Aerospace Safety tells us on Twitter: Staying at home is actually basic astronaut training, just like Scott Kelly’s year in space on the International Space Station.

Depending on where you are in the U.S., we’re about four weeks into the slipper commute and virtual meeting rabbit hole.

While we don't know how long we'll be socially distanced and physically isolated, many of us have the same question: What will it take to be confident that we can go out and stay safe if there's no vaccine or sure treatment yet? Researchers say it’s not going to be a date in a calendar but data that lets us know.

With staggering unemployment levels and the frightening toll of COVID-19 reaching new heights in major cities, we're also rethinking values and what’s important. The World Economic Forum wonders whether the lasting impact of coronavirus will be to ask “How we do capitalism” as we see the societal and economic repercussions around the world in Coronavirus and capitalism: How will the virus change the way the world works? (April 2). A writer at Axios additionally suggests The coronavirus outbreak will forever change the world economy (April 7).

Let’s take a look at how the world of business is adapting to the coronavirus pandemic and new risks that are emerging.


Data privacy and security

COVID-19 disease isn’t the only risk we face: Data security is still a top concern, whether you manage vendor or third-party risk or are focused on business continuity and resilience.

Coronavirus Scams Hit the U.S. Healthcare Industry, writes Richard Kusserow of Strategic Management Services in a blog overview for SAI360 (April 3)

Marriott says 5.2 million guest records were stolen in another data breach (TechCrunch, March 31)

GE employee data exposed when one of their partners, Canon Business Process Services, experienced a security breach in February (Threat Post, March 25)

UK's ICO Publishes Guidance for GDPR Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 6)

There's a battle over CCPA's July 1 enforcement deadline:

With so many companies requiring employees to work from home, how do you minimize risks and increase productivity? Disaster Recovery Journal has been hosting a continuing town hall-style webinar series on how businesses are adapting. On Friday, April 10 we discuss We're all working from home. So what does that mean? And when/how do we move back?


Supply chain

Up and down the food supply chain, protecting the health and safety of workers with PPE and physical distancing is a high priority.

From Iraq to New York: Thank Those Who Keep on Truckin’: I learned in the Army why supply chains are so vital. There are lessons for the current crisis. (Wall Street Journal Opinion, April 2)

Shifting focus to the global supply chain, a leader at SAP says China is getting ready to mass-produce again – but the rest of the world isn’t ready to start buying yet. How COVID-19 Exposed Weaknesses in the Global Supply Chain (Forbes, April 2)

Supply chains need some love during the coronavirus pandemic (Financial Times, April 7): Companies should pull out the stops to support critical suppliers now and prepare to resume production

The president of the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) and the CEO of General Mills wrote in Fortune: Why we need a government supply-chain office now, more than ever (April 2)

Laborers, truckers, air freight capacity, and shipping containers are causing sprawling food production and distribution shocks: Coronavirus upends global food supply chains in the latest economic shock (Reuters, April 3)

The restaurant supply chain, stagnant as restaurants close around the world, looks at direct-to-consumer options: Left with tons of premium food amid coronavirus shutdown, restaurant suppliers turn to consumers to stay afloat (Fortune, April 1)

Is It Time to Rethink Globalized Supply Chains? MIT Sloan Management Review asked on March 19. The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for managers and prompt them to consider actions that will improve their resilience to future shocks.

COVID-19 update: coronavirus and the pharmaceutical supply chain (European Pharmaceutical Review, April 1): With concerns rising about medicine availability during the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a look at how the pharmaceutical supply chain is faring.


Pharma & healthcare

The John Hopkins coronavirus dashboard gets a billion clicks a day, and “Every day is a new surprise.” Inside the effort to produce the world’s most popular coronavirus tracker (Science/AAAS, April 6)

New York is merging all its hospitals to battle the coronavirus, (Vox, April 3): The New York hospital system is sharing staff, patients, supplies, and distribution of resources, raising questions about in-network and out-of-network costs, payment rates, and who pays for what.

Potential COVID-19 therapeutics currently in development  European Pharmaceutical Review (March 26) rounded up the range of latest development in potential therapies. There are a lot of more interesting prophylactic and therapeutic options than chloroquine and azithromycin in the pipeline – and more options emerge every day as scientists rapidly hone in on candidates. Also see WHO's updated list of candidate vaccines (April 4)

Data for Gilead’s potential coronavirus therapy are coming soon: Here’s what you need to know about remdesivir (STAT News, April 6)

Bill Gates says he’s building pharma manufacturing capacity for seven winners so that once drugs are through trials we're prepared to quickly scale-up complex drug production: Announcing the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator (Gates Foundation, April 3). See also a Q&A with the foundation's Trevor Mundel, Developing COVID-19 therapeutics: An investment that needs to happen.

One of the emerging drug supply chain concerns is in how to support critically ill COVID-19 patients. You can’t use ventilators without sedatives. Now the US is running out of those, too (Vox, April 6).

A new diagnostic tool? How sewage could reveal the true scale of coronavirus outbreak (Nature, April 3): Wastewater testing could also be used as an early-warning sign if the virus returns.

All across the United States, the coronavirus is killing more men than women, data show: U.S. state data, along with figures from New York City, show a picture that matches one of the most mysterious global trends (Washington Post, April 4)

At the Australian National Phenome Center, researchers are looking beyond epidemiological data to using phenotypes (physical and biochemical traits) to determine why different people might be more susceptible to the worst symptoms of COVID-19: Coronavirus research examines why COVID-19 is harmless to some and lethal to others (ABC Australia, April 6)


Digital transformation

In the U.S. this week, it’s like Y2K all over again as legacy technology has trouble keeping up with the federal government’s efforts to stimulate the economy.

Meanwhile, practically every company is looking at how to run even leaner as a global economic recession sets in. While economic reporters are warning Why the Global Recession Could Last a Long Time (New York Times, April 1), there are just as many optimists with advice on How can businesses manage technology costs during the COVID-19 crisis (Information Age, April 6)

Door handles are among the most germ-infested objects in houses, hospitals, factories, and nursing homes. This hands-free door opener was designed by HP's Digital Manufacturing Network partner Materialise. Image: HPIt’s also inspirational how many companies, including tech companies, are adapting their core business capabilities to fight COVID-19. A recent roundup: How tech companies are fighting COVID-19 with AI, data and ingenuity, (TechRepublic, April 6) sums up how innovators are using droves of data, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and clever ingenuity to fill gaps in the supply chain and fight the spread of COVID-19.

Long-established brands are also remembering how they retooled in World War 2. From distilleries making hand sanitizer to clothing and fashion manufacturers making PPE gowns and face masks, the private sector has actively joined the fight against coronavirus.


New remote work routines

Interesting read on how we're redefining work: Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure (The Chronicle of Higher Educations, March 27), a much-discussed article on LinkedIn.

Advice on how to adapt to our new normal is popping up all over, including from some of our veteran remote workers at SAI360: how to successfully work from home, how to parent in a pandemic, how to manage hours and hours of virtual meetings – so keep those photos of your new daily furry coworkers coming to help us smile.

We’re also mindful that not everyone has the opportunity to work from home. Whether you’re on the healthcare front lines or are an essential worker who’s keeping the basic functions of society moving forward, we’re also looking out for your health and safety. Part of that safety is recognizing our mental health needs in a time of heightened anxiety, writes our EHS expert.


Additional resources

SAI360 hosted a set of in-the-moment webinars on Business Continuity Management during the coronavirus pandemic, Resilience 2020. We covered best practices for BCP teams as well as insights from experts on remote work, crisis communications, and vendor risks in a dynamic supply chain. Recorded March 16-17, 2020, they're all available to replay on-demand.

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