What started as a crisis for all of us will have to have a result. That would be optimistic assumption but a worthy one. When people start getting locked in their homes, a lot of service industries disappear. There is the commute, there is catering, there is hospitality. Sorry, there were. How many people were working there? How many students, elderly, parents… How many people, who would otherwise be considered something else - and not unemployed - lost their income thanks to our crisis today?
What is remarkable about part-time workers, their actions are generally extremely commendable by government. Even though they might be dependent on government subsidies, their needs and perils are greatly diminished by an income. Income that disappeared over night. And while a lot of employees are getting help from governments, those are not. That is a first shock to our system.
When borders are closed to travel, which was (probably) right call on behind of all countries carrying it out, checks of vehicles are usually a good idea. That creates frictions on borders, where people are congested and waiting to be let through. Logistics of industries are at peril in that moment, because - just in time for a disruption - factories don’t hold stocks necessary for sustaining production for longer periods of time. That would cost money.
Being at home and having things delivered raises costs of living. Whatever delivery companies tell you, their products are not cheaper than in stores, their margins are (still) higher, their costs more variable. What is a higher cost for luxury of time becomes a “tax” on good behavior and consciousness in times of pandemic. A luxury of being sheltered comes to those with means, not those who struggle. As it always did.
Not being more cautious is going to be a costly affair in eyes of insurance companies and stakeholders. Company which doesn’t comply with this new normal is going to be profitable but without adequate level of insurance and without valuation that it could deserve.
Activist investors will be tempted to demand redundancies in supply chain, higher stock reserves able to absorb disruptions in international or even intracomutarial (eg. in EU, in USA, in China etc.) supply chains. “Local” might become the new normal for governmental contracts, just to ensure that having mainly local supply chain is profitable and local companies don’t go out of business before they are needed.
If people say that every crisis is an opportunity, they are not wrong, but definitely insensitive. This change will make a lot of people angry, a lot of people more insecure, lot of people poorer, disenchanted, uprooted and lost. Offer a helping hand, support worthy local causes (and international, if you want to), buy from your neighbours and other local suppliers. If they fail, sky won’t fall down. But it might disappear and leave Amazons and Alibabas in charge of supply chains and everyone involved, waiting for next crises like vultures flying over a wanderer in a desert.
Just in time is not good enough. Tomorrow and yesterday is the least we could settle on.