Industry Leaders on Coronavirus Impacts
We checked in with a few industry brands to see how they are handling employee business travel given the coronavirus. We also asked about impact on the supply chain since many Chinese factories have been closed.
The next worry if the virus continues to spread: how it could impact the supply side of the business if more stores close globally.
Paul Naude, CEO, Vissla, Amuse Society, Sisstrevolution
“Obviously China is off limits and we have no planned international travel at this time. We will monitor the situation as we move forward.”
“As far as the supply chain, summer deliveries are on time. There are some slight delays on some fall deliveries out of China but we built in a buffer, so we will still deliver on time in terms of our delivery window. Unless something else unforeseen materializes we are confident of our supply for the foreseeable future.”
Michael Daly, CEO, Rip Curl
“We are certainly actively reviewing all international travel at the moment and cancelling or deferring anything unless it is truly business critical. We have temporarily suspended travel to any of the countries under the watch lists from various governments, such as China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran, etc.”
“The supply chain question is more of a difficult one to answer, and is of course a moving challenge for all companies. Fortunately it is a quieter time for us in terms of incoming products.”
“Most of our concern at the moment is the timely arrival of samples for the spring in Northern Hemisphere (autumn in Southern Hemisphere) for range releases currently scheduled for June. That is the main focus of our teams at the moment.”
Burton is recommending travel be business critical only, and has barred employees from traveling for business to heavily impacted regions such as Mainland China, Iran, South Korea and the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy.
Anyone who travels to or through those locations for personal reasons needs to self-quarantine for 14 days.
When SES spoke to CEO John Lacy a few weeks ago, he said Burton was expecting some delays in deliveries even though the company has a diversified supply chain. That’s because China still supplies a lot of zippers, trimmings, printed fabrications and other materials to manufacturers in other parts of the world.
Dave Tanner, CEO, Boardriders
Dave told SES that the company is not shutting down business travel completely, but is following government guidance when it comes to avoiding hot spots.
“We are decreasing travel, but in a measured way,” he said. “We want to keep the business moving.”
As far as the supply chain, the situation appears to be improving, Dave said. At first, it was hard to reach any suppliers because everyone had shut down. But now, he said factories are coming back to work in some capacity so Boardriders is getting a little bit more visibility into the situation. Boardriders makes only about 30% of its goods in China. But a lot of raw materials are produced there, especially for some snow product.
Boardriders does expect some delays, and will likely use air freight where it can to speed things up as much as possible.
He said the company is communicating with its retail customers about the issue.
Ryan Immegart, CMO, Volcom
Volcom asked employees to cancel any non-critical travel and to follow recommended procedures if they are showing symptoms or think they were exposed to the virus.
“Regarding supply chain, we are in constant contact with our suppliers and things appear to be improving. There are some forecasted delays but for the moment everything seems manageable on the supply side.”
A spokesman sent SES the following statement:
“In response to the growing spread of the coronavirus globally, we have implemented a series of international travel restrictions for our associates based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, as well requirements set by individual national laws and regulations. The coronavirus situation is rapidly evolving, and VF is evaluating our actions daily to ensure we are taking a responsible and measured approach to associate safety and well being.”