Iowa State expert explains coronavirus impacts on business

AMES, Iowa- A supply chain expert at Iowa State University is sharing the many ways coronavirus could impact businesses and customers around the world, including the possibility of worker layoffs.

"If you cut off the supply of material that's feeding an operation here in the United State's it's certainly going to have an impact on the workforce and the productivity of those facilities here in the U.S. and in Europe and in any other country that is sourcing product from China," said Scott Grawe, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at Iowa State University's College of Business.

Grawe says production out of China's manufacturing companies is down, and shipments are getting delayed or cancelled, and that's impacting manufacturers around the globe, which are dependent on those products, and used to having ample supplies in stock. He says not only will they deal with delays, but there may likely be higher transportation costs as well.

Grawe says businesses are getting creative though, looking for alternative sources. He notes, however, the solutions are not easy, because so many countries are dependent on the output from China's manufacturing sector.

He says retailers are also already looking ahead to this Christmas, wondering if they'll have enough merchandise in their warehouses.

Grawe says supply chain issues are also a consideration if and when a vaccine is ready, because it will need to be distributed to countries quickly.

Grawe takes a group of ISU students to either China or South America each spring to see supply chain management first-hand. This spring they'll go to South America, but he hopes to take students back to China in 2021. In the event coronavirus is still an issue, however, he says he's coming up with a back-up plan.

Grawe will be a guest on the Focus Public Affairs program, which airs on multiple iHeart Radio stations in Des Moines and Ames, Sunday, March 1st.

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