Tips to overcome Supply Chain challenges in a pandemic

Posted by Suresh Sellaiah on 31-Mar-2020 14:05:28


Dear Network,

We hope everyone is well?

None of us would have imagined 2020 to be the year of a worldwide pandemic with Covid-19 (Coronavirus). There is still uncertainty about what will happen next. These are indeed unprecedented times and a time that will not be forgotten in our lifetime or for that matter, in history. We extend our great respect and heartfelt thanks to Doctors, Nurses, Healthcare staff, Ambulance drivers, Supermarket workers, Cleaners, organisations and everyone involved in protecting and saving our lives whilst keeping society going.

All organisations are continuing to do everything they can to keep businesses running as efficiently as possible. Many are demonstrating their social responsibility to fight against Covid-19 by producing ventilators, hand sanitisers, masks, gloves, test kits and many more.

Though there may be uncertainty facing many businesses, as a leader in Supply Chain Planning, it remains Olivehorse’s priority to continue to help businesses navigate these challenging times and to set an example of quality remote services. We, as a business, have taken measures to reassure our customers of our ability to deliver and continue to meet their project needs with the same quality as we always have. Olivehorse have strengthened our digital delivery using tools like Microsoft Teams to ensure that our services can be remotely delivered to the same high standard as before.


In situations such as these, effective supply chain operations are increasingly important. As many businesses start to look for ways to manage their supply chain and plan efficiently, here are a few of our tips on where to start:

  • Take stock of your most recent Sell-In and Sell-Out data
  • Track the changing dynamics of consumer behaviour
    -How could stockpiling impact your product portfolio in the short and medium term?
    -Shelf life of products and past consumer shopping behaviour could be handy.
  • Review your budgets and any procurement/production hurdles. It is likely that smaller sized suppliers supply chains will be impacted heavily, in turn impacting medium and large organizations
  • Review your strategy on new product launches and innovations
  • Review your short-term sales and marketing strategy considering restricted movement of target consumers
  • Consider various socio-economic measures taken by governments to protect businesses
  • Account for known uncertainty like "Brexit"
  • Prepare to manage looming recession fears
  • As governments are likely to lockdown and release a number of times in order to ‘flatten the curve’, try modelling these scenarios to understand the impact on supply and demand

Over the past few weeks, we understand the panic in the day to day operations of businesses and planning communities. We suggest utilising the capabilities of your supply chain software that could help ease some of these.

  • Use statistical forecasting capabilities to understand what would happen in a normal scenario
    -Apply weighting factors on the forecast model to evaluate potential scenarios
    -Advanced forecast models such as Multiple Linear Regression offer the possibility to include some of the causal factors such as GDP or Inflation
    -Machine Learning algorithms and Demand Signal Management systems are other possibilities to give more insights to your forecast
  • Quickly configure a new version where the planning community can upload new master data (like hand sanitiser production line setup) and see how quickly a new product can be brought into the market
  • Perform various What-If scenarios to evaluate financials between the worst-case and the best-case scenarios and what it means for your business in the short, medium and long-term.
  • Allocation (ATP) planning can ensure everyone gets something and helps society to keep functioning
  • Maintain awareness of your top supply chain KPI's, so you can take preventative action
  • Include your vendor’s assumptions as early as possible into your supply chain planning. Especially when your vendors are spread across the world and each country has different measures in place

Whilst we are all fighting our day-to-day operational issues to keep the business operating efficiently, let us not lose focus on the mid-term and long-term plan to sustain and grow. This could be the moment to look at the wish list which had a small change request that might have bigger savings on planner’s operations. The humongous list of what-if scenarios may seem overwhelming but using our expertise, Olivehorse can provide your business with the necessary tools and methodologies to navigate them. Giving you the answers you need now and not months down the line.

This is an opportunity to stand apart and to plan for the future.


If you require our services and expertise, seek our help at

Let’s get through this together.





Suresh Sellaiah is a Senior SAP SCM Consultant here at Olivehorse and has been with the team for 4 years.