COVID-19 Pandemic FAQs and Helpful Resources

In these unusual times, as we are all needing to take each new day as it comes, we realize it is difficult to think about planning ahead. Like everyone right now, Cleo is mainly focused on the health and well-being of our employees, customers, and partners. Our hearts go out to the individuals, communities, and businesses throughout the world that are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to do what we can to help. 

One way we can help is to offer our company’s thoughts and expertise around ways in which integration technology can help you protect your business interests going forward. 

To help you navigate the unprecedented impact this crisis is having on your supply chains, we have put together this Resources page, which we hope will provide helpful ideas for you to think about relative to your current and future situation.  

As always, Cleo is dedicated to serving as a trusted partner. If there is any way we can assist you in navigating COVID-19, please contact us.  

Cleo's COVID-19 Response

FAQ

Visit this page frequently for updated FAQs, advisory content, helpful resources, and support for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. (Last update: March 30, 2020)

 

What should I do to prepare for the next wave of disruptions due to COVID-19?

In Cleo’s view, in the coming months there will likely be a series of waves impacting supply chains, and we’re advising customers to think through both short- and long-term effects of all of them. The first wave is what we are witnessing now, with supply shortages for medical and sanitary goods. The second wave falls into the wider consumer goods category (common everyday items such as groceries, packaged foods, beverages, and sanitary goods that will be affected to varying degrees). We expect a ripple effect due to depleted inventory levels in warehouses. Along with this, we also expect to see shortages in raw materials used to manufacture goods due to factory labor shortages and delays through the supply chain brought by shelter-in-place and lockdown initiatives. Lastly, there could be a wave that manifests as a shortage of labor in the logistics sector due to potential health issues related to spread of the virus.  

This may sound shocking but nearly 75% of companies are reporting supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19-related transportation restrictions, and more than 80% believe that their organization will experience some impact because of COVID-19. Regardless of what industry you are in, achieving business continuity in the face of adversity relies on your company having an agile supply chain that can adapt to your evolving business strategy; this is your number one defense against uncertainty.

How should I be thinking about supply chain continuity?

Supply chain continuity comes through an agile supply chain that includes elasticity, rapid provisioning (and de-provisioning) of partners, as well as end-to-end visibility and proactive, automated error handling. While nobody could have predicted the ripple effect of COVID-19, we can anticipate the aftermath, and taking steps now to ensure your organization is flexible and scalable will allow you to do just that. 

In thinking about supply chain continuity, it’s essential to understand the relationship between your business and your trading partners. Their expectations play a major role in what solutions will work best for your business. To determine what you will need to have in place for when the pandemic subsides, use this time to do a gaps analysis to pinpoint all the various chokepoints in your current end-to-end business processes, identify what is lacking, and prioritize those areas that are most critical to your business.

For more detailed thoughts on this, please see these additional resources:

How should I prepare for further unforeseen supply or demand shocks?

One thing that COVID-19 is teaching us is that companies, to combat this or really any unforeseen disruption to their supply chain, should move now to implement strategies that will make their supply chain more flexible and dynamic. Having the ability to quickly shift an order or load to another trading partner who can support it or to make rapid adjustments to your supplier base for more favorable pricing terms, are just some of the value-creation benefits of supply chain agility.  

Having end-to-end visibility and quick reaction time is critical in dealing with supply shocks. Retailers, for example, must balance short-term demand by maintaining medium and long-term supply. But as COVID-19 spreads, and people practice social distancing, businesses are suffering as they are faced with demand shocks. In order to stay agile in the face of COVID-19, businesses need the type of insight and understanding of their business partners and interactions that are only provided by ecosystem integration.

My organization is pulling back on costs & expenses.  Where do we begin?

Use the lull to your advantage - evaluate your system, integration capabilities, and end-to-end business processes like order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, or load tender-to-invoice. Nobody can predict the future, nor how business operations will be truly affected in the months immediately ahead. The best way to start is to plan ahead now to identify where and how you can leverage modern integration technology to create continuity and agility throughout your supply chain.

Due to the pandemic, my IT organization has a resource and skills gap issue (WFH, health, etc). What should I do?

As more and more of the workforce becomes “remote,” companies need assurance that vendors and partners they rely on to keep their businesses running are prepared, ready and available. And that means making sure all integration points across your ecosystem are working properly and efficiently. If you are experiencing a shortage of skilled personnel with in-depth knowledge about integration technology, Cleo’s managed services team likely can help you work through any challenges you are struggling with. Please reach out to our Customer Success team (customersuccess@cleo.com) if you need additional resources, talent or other help.

I have identified a number of new suppliers I am considering switching to as the crisis abates. How can I onboard them faster?

We believe the desire to onboard new partners more quickly and with greater direct control will soon be the case at most every supply chain-driven business. New partner onboarding is challenging even in the best of times. In fact, nearly half of surveyed businesses report the onboarding of a new partner taking over a month. The reason is likely because many organizations still rely on traditional / legacy systems to manually onboard each partner rather than automating parts of the process.  

Moving to a cloud-based ecosystem integration platform could help significantly in expediting your partner onboarding requirements. An ecosystem integration platform allows companies, whether they are manufacturers, logistics, wholesalers, retailers, healthcare providers, or others, to rapidly onboard new suppliers, and dynamically respond to demand fluctuations by also quickly onboarding customers, including brick and mortar as well as digital.

What is Cleo doing to ensure business continuity?

Cleo has taken several steps to ensure that our employees and customers are always taken care of, especially in the face of this current pandemic. Here is a letter from our CEO, Mahesh Rajasekharan that outlines some of those very details.

How are Cleo customers stepping up to combat pandemic?

In the spirit of service to others, Cleo customers are helping combat COVID-19 in ways that only they can.  

Here’s a partial list of publicly available examples of the ways in which some very agile companies are bringing their resources, knowledge, expertise to join the fight.  

We salute these and every company making a contribution, big or small, and we will add to this list as we learn of more examples. 

NEW BALANCE – pivoting from shoes to face masks

DIGI-KEY – working with Univ. of Minnesota to address ventilator shortage

STARKEY – donates 80,000 masks for healthcare workers

What has Cleo been saying in the news about COVID-19?

Cleo's continually in touch with a wide variety of industry media editors and reporters, sharing our thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 for our customers' industries. Click here to see the resulting articles, commentaries, and industry-specific insights.

I have a specific question that is not here?  Where do I go?

Cleo is here to help. Please contact our Customer Success team directly by emailing us at customersuccess@cleo.com