Procurement and planning for the future – how the COVID-19 pandemic shaped our sourcing

Procurement - Covid-19 pandemic

As we manufacture a large range of aircare & hygiene products around the world, procurement was already challenging enough! Throw in a COVID-19 pandemic and it’s changed my role completely. When the initial period of wide ranging restrictions is over, expect procurement to be impacted for at least a year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be completely unpredictable. Part of my job function is to minimize guess work, with as accurate & true forecasts as possible. At Vectair we think of the saying “expect the unexpected” to help us plan effectively, taking everything into account.

In Mid-March however, the unique global events caught everyone off guard. The likes of which we hope to not see again but then I guess, expect the unexpected…

Patience with procurement in a COVID-19 pandemic

With no consistent timelines available due to ever changing circumstances, patience has been a powerful coping method. Coronavirus has increased the demand of our finished hygiene goods, but a double edge sword appears. With the increase demand, availability of stock depletes, but the demand keeps growing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many factories have had to close, raw materials became sparse and lead times increased, naturally. There’s often an increase in lead times that is to be expected, (Christmas etc.) but this period has been exceptional.

While sales have remained consistent, without the stock, we are unable to reap the rewards of the revenue. I’m very conscious of available spend now, making me think outside the box with regards to what PO’s are critical. Our warehouses are nearing capacity & this has resulted in PO’s being pushed back slightly. The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have a long term effect on the supply chain overall.

Procurement - Covid-19 pandemic

Pre coronavirus, I would have planned once a month, though core products now have to monitored daily. More “reactive” PO’s (purchase orders) are having to be raised than normal. Regarding the future, the COVID-19 pandemic has made me concerned of future stock levels. Having worked so hard to reduce stock holdings, we might have too much stock of products once the pandemic passes.

While no day passes without obstacles, COVID-19 has given me new challenges, taught me new things and tested my patience.

By Jo Chamberlain | Planning & Procurement Manager | Vectair Systems

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