Supply Chain & Travel – Pandemic Update 

 Alvin, TX – June 22, 2022

Although life seems closer to “normal” than it was just a few month ago, the threat of any future disease still looms large based on the recent global pandemic. In order to be ready for future challenges, we need to ask “what have we learned from the impact of this global event?”

Despite the best efforts of a company to be prepared for any eventuality, the reality of the last two years experience shows how interconnected we are with global events. The largest impact to industry remains supply chain issues and cost increases. In 2020, in order to be better prepared for the Pandemic, Chemac, Inc. anticipated shortages and stocked up quickly for parts. However, despite the largest stock levels in the company’s history, early in the pandemic, stock was quickly driven down and some of the resupply mired by long deliveries and unexpected logistical issues for surface and air freight. Some air rates for shipments quadrupled as cargo flights were unable to handle rising demand.  Quotes for cargo expired in hours compared to prior to the pandemic. In addition to the pandemic, the war in Europe is also hampering shipments. The shipping industry presently doesn’t anticipate “normal” conditions until 2023.

Luckily, the plants and Chemac locations were not negatively impacted by the pandemic. Although the virus made itself known at times, the cases were mostly mild and operations kept running. At no point did Chemac mandate vaccines for employees and believed this was a personal decision. If a customer required only a vaccinated employee, the company would request only vaccinated employees handle the service call.  After an internal review, it was determined that without a federal mandate, the company could not mandate vaccines. Chemac did require CDC guidelines be followed for preventing the spread, but since the vaccine didn’t prevent the spread, it was not a requirement for continued employment.   

Today, the virus is still active and despite this many places are again almost fully open and maskless. In Germany, a recent concert had 90,000 attendees… almost all without masks.  Airlines may soon stop requiring masks on flights. This is all good news as the virus is apparently becoming less deadly.  However,  this virus will not be the last and we need to be prepared for anything going forward. 

As we emerge from this crisis, many businesses suffered dearly during the pandemic. We were among the fortunate industries as we were considered an essential operation for the manufacturing of medical supplies and equipment for labs researching a cure/vaccine. At no time did Chemac or its plants ever shut down or lock down for the pandemic. For this, we make special mention and a big THANK YOU to all the dedicated customers and employees who worked through this difficult time with us to keep the supply chain moving. 

For the future, the lessons learned include sharpening the following skills:

  1. Prepare early for any potential outbreaks by being vigilant for emergent health issues.
  2. Protect your employees and families to the best of your ability.
  3. Clear communication between employees, suppliers and factories during a crisis is paramount to keeping operations working.
  4. Respect the beliefs and opinions of all. 
  5. Government doesn’t always have the best solutions or have all the answers. 
  6. Care for the most at risk and vulnerable.
  7. Ensure at work PPE is effective and up to date. 
  8. Encourage excersize and healthy lifestyles to combat common health issues. 
  9. If you are preparing for a pandemic, order more than you can afford. The stock will be depleted faster than you planned (for firms allowed to operate during pandemics). 
  10. Planning flexibility – firm plans often fall apart and require a plan “B” and “C” etc. 

Finally, it doesn’t matter how prepared your company is, you can only do your best to be ready. The goal is to be there for your customers and employees when life gets back to normal. Stay safe.