The global spread of COVID-19 has led to economic constraints in all major industrial nations. They have had a direct impact on the reliability of the supply of goods to manufacturing companies, since their supply chains have been interrupted at various different points. Even if Germany begins ramping up production again over coming weeks, it is currently difficult to predict whether the required components, parts, and primary products are available in the quantities needed, especially at companies with tightly integrated, global supply chains.
Supply chains are opaque and unstable at the moment. Decision-makers are currently barely able to gauge with any accuracy when a tier n supplier from the United States will be able to supply its products and in what quantity, whether the freight capacity required for them can be used without limitations, and what procurement alternatives there are if a supplier is unable to operate. Secondly, many companies still do not have an idea of how their supply chains and subcontractor chains are structured down to tier n level. This lack of transparency becomes very strongly pronounced during the present crisis.
Another roadblock is the travel restrictions which make it almost impossible to personally verify the situation of existing and new suppliers that are based internationally. Currently, it is not immediately possible to say how well a supplier from Eastern Europe or Asia could be empowered with immediate measures or, alternatively, whether a new supplier can be integrated. Instead, companies must engage someone locally who can get an idea of the prevailing conditions there.
The government requirements in connection with the coronavirus are highly likely to have impacts on the conditions on the factory floor itself. This applies in particular to contact restrictions. Businesses will likely not be able to restart production operations without face masks and other personal protective equipment. Whether this equipment is available in sufficient quantities is a question whose answer will have to wait, given the bottlenecks in the output of medical-technology companies.