McKinsey & Co.'s 23-box checklist provides business leaders with specific actions to:
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:
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).
Protect customers (e.g., no penalties for cancellations, waiving fees, flexible booking models).
Preserve customer loyalty (e.g., premium discounts, loyalty packages).
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.
Support epidemic efforts where possible.
Click for full report, including supply chain actions to consider.