2020 is likely to be featured as the most volatile year in history. The last few months have marked a turning point in the global economy. It has brought about the most profound structural shifts in every nature of the global economy and the social fabric of the operating environment.
The spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19 has and is being felt globally across operations in ways that no one can model and assess. How and when other economies, company and operations come back online and start trading again in the previous normal is anyone’s guess. The affected regions are at the heart of many global supply chains. Hard information is lacking. Concerns are mounting over stock levels. Companies fear they would not be able meet contractual obligations on time.
As the international response to COVID-19 continues to develop, businesses are facing significant challenges to which they need to respond rapidly. Most have been trying to keep up with the news about global response measures and have been working diligently to secure raw materials and components and protect supply lines. For companies who have not mapped their supply networks for complete visibility and real-time information, the response to the disruption has largely been reactive and uncoordinated.
SBS – Singa Bearings Solutions Pte Ltd (SBS) is one of the small minority of companies that has invested before the pandemic, in ensuring that vital information is always accessible across its global teams.
Daniel Hallauer, Founder and CEO, states “Full visibility into the structure of our supply chains has always been a fundamental consideration in our operations. In the event of a potential disruption, we know exactly which suppliers, sites, parts and products are at risk. The level of insight that we have built into our processes has been a key lever for securing constrained inventory and alternative capacity.”
The monumental success of SBS’s recent delivery of 8 tonnes of materials from Germany right into the Hubei Province where the virus had started in the City of Wuhan. This project is a testimony of SBS’s strategic and robust framework deployed for a time of economic uncertainty that has helped navigate this stage and has since propelled the company to emerge even stronger.
Traversing the impossible with radical, bold and creative decisions
Business Need: Deliver an order for 8 tonnes of bearings in 19 weeks, by End March 2020.
Shortly after, on 23 January 2020, the central government of China imposed a lockdown in Wuhan and the Hubei Province where all public transport, including buses, railways, flights, and ferry services would be suspended. The Wuhan Airport, the Wuhan railway station, and the Wuhan Metro were all closed. The residents of Wuhan were also not allowed to leave the city without permission from the authorities. By the afternoon of 23 January, the authorities began shutting down some of the major highways leaving Wuhan.
Putting this into perspective
With a population of over 11 million, Wuhan is a key transportation hub located in the largest city in Hubei, the most populous city in Central China. Geographically situated on the confluence of the Yangtze River and its largest tributary, the Han River, Wuhan features dozens of railways, roads and expressways passing through the city, connecting to other major cities.
Following the lockdown of Wuhan, public transit, trains, airports, and major highways in two of Wuhan’s neighbouring cities were also closed. In mid-February, the Chinese government issued an extension order to shut down all non-essential companies, including manufacturing plants.
Solutioning the impossible
Not one to be deterred by adversity, Hallauer and his team went into full assessment mode and pored through every logistical possibility, to identify potential solutions to get the shipment through locked-down regions of China. The extraordinary measures implemented for the customer to secure the goods involved personnel from procurement, logistics and supply-chain financing coming together to look at the key gaps that needed to be fixed.
“There was a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty with a very complex start. Regardless of the difficulties involved, the effort to press on is very important to SBS’s effort to stay self-reliant for the future. My guiding principle is simple. If we are able to emerge from this constraint, both our customers and our employees will discover that the value of the solution is greater than the cost and time to develop it.”
The solution derived featured a rail and road combination. SBS’s meticulous monitoring, utmost consideration and strict adherence to the border controls paved the way for an uninterrupted and continuous travel.
One could say that the journey of SBS bearings chugged through the railway towards the loosening of the lockdown, with the goods arriving at the Xi An Station just as the city resumed all transportation services. All 8 tonnes of SBS bearings continued its journey by road to our customer’s premises completely intact.
Luck perhaps? Hallauer sums up SBS’s motivation, “Our credo is to always solve for the customer first, and everything else will fall into place.”
Looking to deliver with success? Contact us for a no-obligation assessment on how SBS can help you.