6 tips for exporters to manage the COVID-19 crisis

 Emmanuel Bisi Emmanuel Bisi
April 6, 2022
Published On

Since January 2020, a coronavirus epidemic known as "COVID-19" has spread uncontrollably from China. Globally, cases of infection have affected 155 countries across an extensive area. In response to this threat, governments have implemented radical containment measures, including border closures and population lockdowns for several weeks. The situation is evolving rapidly, impacting the stability of the global economy and businesses. Exporters must face and adapt to these significant changes to ensure the sustainability of their operations. Expandys offers in this article 6 Tips for Exporters to Manage the COVID-19 Crisis.

expandys conseils exportateurs covid

1. Develop a continuity plan

  • Establish a crisis committee with key resources, outlining each employee's role.
  • Adapt your supply chain and consider alternative solutions if necessary.
  • Diversify and mitigate risks by exploring alternative markets for your products/services.
  • Rethink your logistics and distribution, which will be disrupted during the crisis.
  • Ensure the storage and maintenance of your machinery/equipment/raw materials and finished products. Back up important data abroad on servers in France.

2. Maximize communication

  • During a crisis, it's crucial to reassure your company's ecosystem, thus maximizing communication.
  • Develop more active, factual, and transparent communication to reassure your partners and clients.
  • Utilize video conferencing tools more frequently.
  • Regularly contact your employees and share necessary information for remote work.
  • Promptly inform your employees of any changes related to your company.

3. Stay informed of support measures

  • Exporters should stay informed of any changes affecting them at national and international levels.
  • Monitor the evolution of countries where you're established regarding the necessary health measures.
  • Monitor local government measures supporting business continuity. Stay informed about available assistance in countries where your partners are located.
  • Utilize consular networks; rely on new sources of information such as consular networks, which provide more precise information on COVID-19 developments via Embassies/Consulates.

4. Address operational shocks

  • It's advisable to create an activity forecast considering various scenarios of business loss. Target essential actions to engage in your company's daily operations.
  • Regarding your suppliers: If a supplier experiences a failure, how will you find an alternative?
  • Concerning your clients: Are certain clients at risk? Payment defaults? Premature termination of contracts?
  • With your employees: If your employees fall ill, plan for replacements.
  • Regularly monitor your cash flow and forecast your cash flow for 3 to 6 months.

5. Manage financial risks

  • Adapt to market changes, including demand, prices, and currency volatility.
  • Test your working capital, as flows of goods and services are interrupted, and consider any support you can offer to your suppliers.
  • If necessary, build your inventory selectively and consider insurance requirements in case of interruptions.
  • Reduce your costs to minimize the impact on your cash flow.
  • Consult your bank for immediate support and strengthening resilience against potential disruptions.

6. Promote global cooperation

  • Global cooperation is vital economically, considering the nature of international trade and supply chains; solidarity is the key element for businesses.
  • All your partners are affected by the crisis, so it's important to establish business cooperation and develop common action plans against the challenges imposed by the coronavirus.
  • Encourage mutual aid when one of your partners is in need, especially if one of your partners is in one of the countries most affected by COVID-19.
  • Provide support administratively, in production and shipment of materials and equipment (e.g., medical), financially by implementing payment plans or other processes enabling your company to respond effectively during the crisis.

Beyond these 6 tips for exporters to manage the COVID-19 crisis, Expandys and Globallians are here to support you.

Through our 400 collaborators, we are mobilized in this particular moment to assist you to the best of our ability during the crisis. We offer practical solutions leveraging our network of 26 offices worldwide to minimize the impact and ensure the sustainability and profitability of your business during the crisis.

Here are some examples of topics we've been approached for in recent weeks:

  • My subsidiary in Poland is facing cash flow problems; are there any local financial aids available?
  • Can I implement partial unemployment for part of my team in the UK?
  • How can I best prepare for the post-crisis period in Dubai with the perspective of the 2020 Universal Exhibition?
  • My subsidiary in Germany has lost 50% of its revenue; what options exist in terms of hosting and shared management solutions to quickly reduce my operating expenses?
  • How can I reactivate my distribution in Turkey when my local distributor has ceased operations?
  • My subsidiary director in China has been severely affected by COVID-19, and I cannot travel there to sign important documents. Can someone from your team become our resident director?
  • How can I monitor my suppliers in Vietnam when I can no longer visit their factories?
  • Is now the right time to explore acquisition opportunities in Australia, to take stakes in a company with tight cash flow or in a situation of bankruptcy (distressed M&A)?
  • Can I conduct a market study in the United States to have a precise mapping of the players in my sector and anticipate how the COVID-19 crisis might reshape the landscape?
  • Can I engage sales representatives in India through employer of record services to avoid bearing the management costs of a local subsidiary and thus have an agile structure during this crisis?
  • Is it possible to recruit in Canada during this health crisis?
  • What is the situation of the crisis in Russia when European media have little information?

Tell us about your post-COVID-19 export challenges