Supply Chain and the new scenario in times of pandemic

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"In times of crisis, we live with high uncertainty, the way we relate to each other changes, there are explosive and rapid changes in regulations and people often experience new consumer habits, so it is key to have the ability to focus efforts, redefining clearly what the short, medium and long term objectives will be".



In Supply Chain and in line with Prosud's objectives, we have defined five priority focuses to face this new scenario. The first is to provide operational continuity and fulfil our promise of service to our customers. This is related to securing the critical points in the supply chain that affect the fulfilment of our customers' orders, establishing rapid, high-impact initiatives.

With external variables limiting response rates, such as travel difficulties, shorter preparation times, new government restrictions and the high variability of demand (some products high and others lower than expected), it is essential to strengthen and make key processes more flexible in order to maintain and/or increase capacities.
flexibilise key processes in order to maintain and/or increase capacities. In this scenario, we focused mainly on increasing our production, providing flexibility by incorporating additional staff, creating new operating shifts, strengthening agreements and collaboration with service providers (transport, security, supplies and materials), creating a preventive maintenance plan for machinery and infrastructure and reviewing critical IT systems that have allowed us to efficiently overcome these first months of the contingency.

The second focus is on safeguarding the health and safety of our employees. A fundamental part of our values at Prosud is care and respect for people, and therefore all the measures we implement are always focused along these lines. In this new scenario, this is more important than ever, as the nature of this pandemic makes it necessary to contain each person individually and at the same time protect the team as a whole. With this focus and with a strategy that has permanently sought to anticipate events, we have carried out various initiatives aligned with the Minsal guidelines and led by our Quality and Risk Prevention teams, which have managed to provide operational continuity and control the levels of contagion within the company. To implement this, a COVID committee was created, which meets once a week and performs daily monitoring of positive cases, close contacts and keeps data updated based on new information. Also, processes and procedures were designed for early detection, follow-up of cases with controls at Prosud entry, rapid test and PCR as required.

To be able to carry out all the above, we made modifications to our infrastructure in which we detected that there could be risks of contagion (casino, dressing rooms, accesses, reception, work stations, etc.) and at the same time, we made sure to generate distance between work teams, separating operational shifts completely (work hours, use of infrastructure and mobilization) and maximizing teleworking between the areas that have the feasibility of doing so. Another very important point has to do with the periodic sanitization of the facilities and personal care, where the constant delivery of personal care supplies (masks, alcohol gel, alcohol, gloves, etc..), cleaning, washing of the Distribution Center and its offices has been promoted.

The third point is effective and assertive communication. This is related to ensuring fluid communication with all members of the supply chain, i.e. suppliers, Prosud employees and customers, seeking to align strategies and not lose sight of the main focuses. At this stage, it has been key to work together with the different teams, defining unified information plans, always seeking to ensure that all actors can be updated on the steps to be taken, verifying changes and relevant information when carrying out their functions.

The initiatives we have developed are aimed at strengthening three relevant aspects: firstly, the administration and updating of pandemic information (COVID), highlighting prevention, self-care and management protocols; secondly, the promotion of talks at the start of the shift with news, regular talks to communicate relevant situations, training on COVID protocols and updates, maintenance of information panels, creation of COVID chats with online information, among others.

The second point is related to providing timely information and visibility of the status of supply by product. Here we seek to keep our internal teams, suppliers and, above all, our customers up to date with relevant information that allows us to take concrete actions.

The third communication focus consists of aligning the Supply Chain Management's internal information channels for rapid, participative and timely decision-making, always seeking coordination and teamwork.

The fourth point is to ensure future supply, where coordination and management with our suppliers and customers stand out, with the aim of dealing with changes in demand for some high turnover items, management of the movement of products with less mobility, review of operational capacities and the distribution network.

Understanding the restrictions and capacities of our suppliers has been a relevant factor in addressing this point, generating and strengthening communication with them to review how this new scenario has impacted their different processes. One of the key variables for crisis management in times of uncertainty is to understand how each actor in the chain is, in terms of their productive capacities, how their response times, service hours, delivery points have changed and how we can collaborate together in the management of flows to be able to make them compatible with our operational reality. To do this we have had to make some critical internal processes more flexible, which has allowed us to speed up product arrivals and optimise our reception, storage, preparation and dispatch systems.

The fifth focus is the profitability of the business. On this point, we have set ourselves the objective of continually reviewing our cost items and always making decisions that allow us to generate efficiency in our processes. Although, in periods of contingency such as the one we are experiencing, we must act quickly, taking timely actions aimed at ensuring operational continuity and employee health, we must never fail to review the impact that these measures have for the company in financial terms in the short and long term.

By Sergio Montané
Supply Chain Manager