Typhoon Ulysses disrupts the Philippine supply chain; here’s what you can do

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Floods coming out of two malls in Cainta, Rizal, causing motorists stranded along Marcos Highway. Source: ABS-CBN News

Just when the supply chain in the Philippines begins to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) made its way to hammer down the supply chain again. With a sustained wind of up to 158 mph blowing out the country’s “supply chain hub”, the Metro Manila and Central Luzon, many facilities involved in the supply chain are severely affected.

Hurricane is one of the major events disrupting the flow of goods causing a ripple effect to the global supply chains. Shipments to and from typhoon-hit areas will experience indefinite delays causing constraints among supply chain stakeholders.

Halted ports operations

Suspension of air and seaports operations during typhoon hampers cargo movements. The Manila International Airport Authority halted airport operations beginning midnight until 6 a.m. today due to the hurricane. Air Asia evacuated some of their planes out of Manila while Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific tied down their fleet of airplanes to ensure their safety.

Authorities ordered a temporary closure of ports at Manila South Harbor, Batangas, Subic, and Bicol region grounding vessel movements until further notice. The Philippine Coast Guard reported 32 vessels, 540 rolling cargoes and 1,500 passengers, drivers, and cargo helpers are stranded in typhoon-hit areas.

Road closures

Landfalls along the roads limit trucks from delivering cargoes across destinations. In the Bicol region, the Department of Public Works and Highways announced Wednesday that 11 roads are blocked due to falling trees, landslides, and floods.

Some parts of the North Luzon Expressway are now impassable due to floods. Deliveries of food and other critical items make it extremely difficult across Metro Manila as most areas are still submerged in water.

Manufacturing facilities

Factories supplying most of the products across the Philippines and global customers are clustered in Central Luzon and Metro Manila areas. Orders received before the typhoon are to be manufactured when the situation comes back to normal. By the time factories reopen, they will be facing long backlogs along with new orders.

Their temporary closures bring a ripple effect to their customers’ supply chains. Customers relying on these affected manufacturers are most likely to experience shipment delays and could disrupt their own production run.

Calamities and any type of crisis bring out the weakest link in the supply chain. Regardless of where you are in the supply chain spectrum – consumer, distributor, manufacturer, or service provider – the impact of disruption will ultimately get into your operation.

Protect your business; focus on your supply chain

Companies that prioritize their supply chain are most likely will thrive despite the crisis. When suppliers cannot deliver materials to their customers, the buying firm could not produce the necessary products it intends to sell to their consumers. This will eventually lead to stockouts and lost revenue causing poor customer service and lower profit.

Staying on top of the news is the best thing customers can do. Being aware of what is coming and its potential impact on your supply chain will help you plan and take necessary actions to protect your business from disruption. For instance, if you learn a storm is coming to your supplier’s location, you can request expedited delivery of your order or any inventories you might have from somewhere else to ensure you have enough supplies.

There are many things you can take to save your supply chain from disruption including supply chain mapping, collaboration across functions, employing technology for real-time visibility, and so much more.

When resuming to normal operations, the health of the employees must be the number one priority. But companies must be able to return to their operations as quickly as possible to avoid potential losses and employees’ layoff.

Marvin Bunyag, CPIM provides analysis and insights into the most trending news in the supply chain management space in the Philippines and across Asia. He is an APICS-CPIM professional and brings over 7 years of international experience in the supply chain. He holds MS in Operations and Supply Management from the University of Wisconsin in USA and a BS in Commerce at the University of the Immaculate Conception in the Philippines. You can reach him at marvinbunyag@explorescm.com.

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