Temperature-Sensitive Goods, Labor ManagementMost cold chain businesses say that taking extra measures to protect the workforce is their No. 1 issue (see chart), according to the Global Cold Chain Alliance's survey studying the ripple effects of COVID-19. Other key findings include: Common challenges. More than 50% of respondents say that supply chain disruptions, such as keeping up with demand surges, slowdowns in food service, and manufacturing issues, are the most common challenges they face. Responses. The top COVID-19 response was to protect employees, through staggering shifts, social distancing, and remote working, followed by maintaining business continuity and workforce morale. Impact on revenue. Comparing actual Q1/Q2 revenue versus expected Q1/Q2 revenue, 54% of respondents report some type of decrease, 11% report no change, and 35% report an increase. Respondents say the next six months may look similar to the past few months. Increased costs. About 80% of respondents predict an increase in costs, with the most common uptick being a 1% to 5% increase. Government priorities. Access to personal protective equipment and cleaning are the top priorities respondents want governments to focus on, followed by financial support for employees and employers. Working from home. Measures taken to reduce person-to-person contact caused operational changes across the cold chain. Work-from-home rates went from 4.5% of the workforce to 19.8% during the pandemic, and they expect about 10.6% to continue to work remotely. This could lead to an increase of 6.1% of the workforce working remotely moving forward. Industry-wide trends. About 75% of respondents say that the pandemic will increase the growth rate of e-commerce/direct-to-consumer delivery of chilled and frozen products. Respondents are optimistic that the growth rate of the industry as a whole will be even more significant because of the pandemic. Conversely, 73% of respondents say that global trade opportunities will decrease or remain the same relative to pre-COVID-19 predictions.
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