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COVID-19 Planning Checklist

McKinsey & Co.'s 23-box checklist provides business leaders with specific actions to:

Protect Employees

 Follow the most conservative guidelines available among leading global and local health authorities (e.g., CDC, WHO).

 Communicate with employees frequently and with the right specificity. Support any impacted employees per health guidance.

 Benchmark efforts (e.g., certain companies curbing nonessential travel to all countries with community transmission).

Stand Up a Cross-Functional COVID-19 Response Team

 Designate overall at the C-suite/CEO-1 level. Team should be cross-functional and fully dedicated.

 Appoint five workstreams:

a) Employees.

b) Financial stress-testing and contingency plan.

c) Supply chain.

d) Marketing and sales.

e) Other relevant constituencies.

 Define specific, rolling 48-hour, one-week goals for each workstream based on planning scenario.

 Ensure a simple but well-managed operating cadence and discipline. Output- and decision-focused. Low tolerance for “meetings for the sake of meetings.”

 Deliver minimum viable products:

a) Rolling 6-week calendar of milestones.

b) One-page plans for each workstream.

c) Dashboard of progress and triggers.

d) Threat map.

Base Goals on Workstreams (vs. employees)

Financial Stress-Testing and Contingency Plan

 Define scenarios that are tailored to the company, including global slowdown over multiple durations. Identify baseline planning scenario.

 Identify variables that will affect revenue and cost. For each scenario, define input numbers for each variable through analytics and expert input.

 Model cash flow, P&L, balance sheet in each scenario. Identify input variable triggers that could drive significant liquidity events (including breach of covenants).

 Identify trigger-based moves to stabilize organization in each scenario (A/P, A/R optimization; cost reduction; portfolio optimization through divestments, M&A).

Customer Care

 Protect customers (e.g., no penalties for cancellations, waiving fees, flexible booking models).

 Preserve customer loyalty (e.g., premium discounts, loyalty packages).

Supply Chain 

 Define extent and timing of exposure to areas that are experiencing community transmission (Tier 1, 2, 3 suppliers; inventory levels).

 Immediate stabilization (critical parts rationing, optimize alternatives, prebook rail/air freight capacity, after-sales stock as bridge, increase priority in supplier production, support supplier restart).

 Medium-/longer-term stabilization (updated demand planning and network optimization – solve for cash, accelerated qualification for alternative suppliers, drive resilience in supply chain).

Marketing and Sales

 Immediate stabilization (inventory planning, near-term pricing changes, discounts).

 Medium-/longer-term stabilization (investment and micro-targeting for priority segments with long-term growth).

 Examine online vs. branch strategy (e.g., in China now, no footfall traffic in major metropolitan areas but significant online demand; investing much more in digital).

Practice Plan With Top Team Through In-Depth Table-Top Exercise

 Define activation protocol for different phases of response (e.g., contingency planning only, full-scale response, other).

 Key considerations: Clarity on decision owner (ideally a single leader), roles for each top team member, “elephant in room” that may slow response, actions and investment needed to carry out plan.

Demonstrate Purpose

 Support epidemic efforts where possible. 

Click for full report, including supply chain actions to consider.