Coronavirus exposes need for alternative markets as global supply chain suffers

Coronavirus exposes need for alternative markets as global supply chain suffers
Former Chairman of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Gowon Bowe

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the global supply chain has highlighted the need for business continuity planning and alternative source markets, a well-known accountant has stated.

With many factories in China closing over COVID-19 fears, Gowon Bowe told Eyewitness News the fallout has underscored the need for business continuity planning to consider more than fires, floods, hurricanes or even earthquakes.

“This situation is also highlighting the need to focus on secondary supply chains so that even if there is a disruption even in the home environment, that you have the ability to source from another location even if it is at another price,” said Bowe.

“Many businesses in the US are finding that they are ill prepared as many things manufactured in US source materials from China.

He said: “I think what the Coronavirus is now going to highlight is we are going to have to start thinking outside the box on what elements can interrupt business and not be solely focused on traditional impacts we have had.

“The short answer is The Bahamas is unprepared as are many countries around the world meaning it has not thought about it in that context.

“What we should be focused on from government perspective is what are those essentials services and goods that we have source from China because if we have a continued slowdown in supply we have to understand that the world is going to be competing for the same limited supply.”

Bowe: continued: “If we look at our food supply, our textile and clothing supply, our pharmaceutical supply, these are critical inputs to our everyday life and while we can adjust how we can consume them in some form or fashion we should be having the conversation for business continuity plan from a business and national perspective in terms of saying if this supply is disrupted because of China is there an alternative supply.”

He noted that while China is seen as a major supplier because of efficiency and cost, countries like Mexico have also emerged as major suppliers.

Bowe said when plants in China resume operations their bigger customers will most likely be supplied first.

“We have to face the reality we are not going to be high on the food chain,” he said.

“We shouldn’t panic by virtue of it being something we are not used to because we have dealt with hurricanes and natural disasters. It just means that we have to broaden our horizons.”