What is the role of operations management in suppressing the effects of unprecedented happenings in the business field? Is there a specific explanation that can be incepted from the realm of operations management to explain the full effect of pandemics? How can operations management effectively combat the effects of pandemics? In general understanding, the fundamental role of operations management of different business entities is to incept the highest levels of efficiency for the running of the affairs of the business. Here, the role of operations management is set in the conversion of various assets and materials in the business into products, either goods or services. However, this is done in the most efficient and effective manner possible so as to maximize the profit margins of the named business entity. Regardless of the elaborate plans and allocations made for various issues that may arise in the business operations do not cover extremes such as pandemics. Here, it is complex to allude to the happenings in the business field with specific resurgences. Instead, most businesses just shift their operations and adapt to the set of ensuring situations, modifying the operational, structural, and executional approaches to their business practices.
The challenges posed by covid-19, in this case, incommoded an array of operational blocks in various businesses. The enactment of social distancing and various restrictions meant to limit human interactions and alleviate the spreading of the virus played this role. It is apparent that the humanitarian crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic introduced new proponents and aspects in operations management. In the United States, just as the rest of the world, the food and beverage industry was one of the sectors that were hard hit by the effects of the pandemic. The effect that Cpvid-19 incepted in this industry was directly tied to the set of services and various functions that compliment the food and supply chain, the rate and the approach to food production, processing, distribution, and the demand attributed to various products and services. Concerning this, it is apparent that an introspective analysis needs to be carried out across different business outfits dealing with food and beverages across the United States. Here, similar companies, JBS Company and Tyson Foods, which deal in the lone of meat processing, will be analyzed so as to come up with the relevant conclusions to allude to several resulting impacts to the infringement caused by Covid-19 on the industry. Therefore, this research will take into account the array of short and long-term issues of Covid-19 on selected companies to ascertain the impact that Covid-19 has introduced to the organizations.
Overview Covid-19 on the Food Supply Chain
Covid-19 pandemic introduced a disruptive and completely unprecedented effect on the fundamental supply chains that exist in the food supply chain. For most food and beverage industries, this issue introduced a new aspect into the way the standing and the organization of the industry will fair in case of future disruptions or humanity scares of the same scale. The major disruption that Covid-19 incepted in the food and beverage is more likely to be attributed to the effect it introduced to supply patterns rather than the primary production of the food. Here, the stalls and disruptions that have been incurred in the processing industries, in particular the meat industry, have led to a market-balance collapse. This issue arises from the disconnection that is incepted in the supply chain that traverses across the entirety of the stakeholders in the food industry. The processing disruption has led to the consequential attribution of surges in the producer surpluses. This implies that the consumers have to be accorded resultant shortages of various products. Additionally, the decrease in some specific products has led to reverse effects in the supply chain;- an increased supply met with considerably low demand for such products.
Logistics in the food and beverage industry have been one of the main facets in the manufacturing sector that have been adversely affected by the ensuring coronavirus outbreak, from the inception point;-the agricultural production in farming and breeding of different agricultural animals and plants to the manufacturing plants. Most specifically, the intensity that is involved in the industry has been one of the major downsides that various individuals and firms have to contend with within the production and supply chains in the agricultural field. Here, it is apparent that different measures have to be taken within the supply chain in order to incommode a high level of competence and professionalism. The understanding of the food manufacturing and processing plants presents several contending issues that, in the long run, are viewed as the proponents of better performance within this field. For instance, the staffing and the general work specifications within the food and beverage industry had to be modified to be in line with the ensuring issues that the Covid-19 pandemic introduced.
Covid-19 and all the array of the restrictions that have been incepted to handle and contain its spread has led to unprecedented challenges and stress on the full understanding and perception of the food supply chains. Here, the bottlenecks have been especially evident in the understanding and supply of labor, transporting of the food products, transport, and logistics. New measures and restrictions have not only hindered and transformed the normal operations in the food supply chains but also led to the inception of insatiable demand from the array of customers and consumers of various products. Stores and major food outlets across the United States have witnessed panic buying and clearing off shelves;-running out of stock of essential foods and food products.
The structural and operational level of the food and beverage industry pre-pandemic means consisted of a highly localized process and industry with an almost zero errant proponent. The disruptive and abrasiveness that the Coronavirus pandemic stall on various operations and businesses in this line meant that most of the enterprises that relied on the highly structural food chain logistics such as transport and logistics and food processing shoulder the biggest losses. The inability to translocate the finished food products on either the local or international scale leads to losses that result from spoilage. Spoilage does not only result from this weak link but also through the array of issues such as laying off workers and the high levels of worker absenteeism resulting from the various staffing regulations sourced from the coronavirus pandemic.
Perhaps one of the most irreversible and precarious situations that can be attributed to the pandemic in the food industry is the disruption of the processing process in the food and beverage plants. The processing industry in the food supply chain is one of the essential parts and perhaps the most important part of the whole supply chain field. Here, there is no margin for error in meeting the required food standards, customer specifications, safety and health standards, and the array of other factors that make up this stage. However, staffing issues, logistics, demand, and the processing process itself make up the array of facets that have been negatively implicated by the covid-19 issues. Labor shortages resulting from this proponent have marred and imparted negative energy on the production units of major food outlets across the world, considerably affecting the criterion on meeting the existing and rising market-demand needs. Numerous firms have reported that, on top of the restructuring of the working models and the total worker alignment, organization, and numbers, they have been experiencing high and inflated rates of workers’ absences. In meat processing firms in many countries, for instance, it has been apparent that the general work environment exposes the workers to an increased risk of contracting Covid-19. Here, it has been apparent that this specific industry faces numerous risks in trying to balance between staffing, supply, production, and attending to the numerous internal and external logistics.
Specific introspect into the meat processing industry reveals that the industry as a unit requires, among another wide array of demands, optimal attainment of worker intensity approaches to effectively reach the targets that are set for them. Here, the work environment is made up of workers who work in close proximity to each other, thus crippling the totality of social distancing and other precautions regarding the spread of covid-19. The conditions and the optimum working environment in the meat processing plants imply that more than ever, attaining the safety requirements attributed to covid-19 is a task mostly deemed unattainable. The meat processing industry is a labor-intensive sensitive sector where any slight changes and fluctuations in labor supply and arrangement adversely affect the setting and the understanding of the whole industry. Thus, the work conditions have led to a reported high infection and fatality cases of Covid-19 in this specific industry. Regarding this, numerous meat processing plants across the United States have faced the eventful shutting down due to staffing issues and the various restrictions of the Covid-19. Additionally, it has been apparent that most of these business outfits have to scale down their levels of operation and opt for cost-cutting measures to gain enough traction so as to stay afloat and sustain their operations. A specific reference is the handling of pig and cattle slaughters in the United States (Telford and Kindy, 2020). Comparing to the pre-Covid era, the performance and the output of these firms have been established to have fallen to close to 40% of their normal operational scale. Additionally, the persistent labor shortages in various abattoirs have led to drastic measures to be taken with the aim of handling the issue and alleviating further losses within the industry. For instance, many animals and livestock within the abattoirs had to be euthanized to solve the issue of overcrowding that stemmed from the low speed at which the animals were being slaughtered and processed.
One of the most relevant issues that the food and beverage industry has to contend with is the fluctuations in demand for various products. The nature of these food and product demands has also come in a different aspect. Food products are being ordered away from home, and that makes it even difficult for businesses to come up with efficient modifications that are meant to incorporate the necessary changes to reach the customer’s wants. The delivery facet is not the only issue that has been brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic. Other issues such as a rooftop demand for frozen and packaged food products have rendered most stores and shelves stocking specific products such as the meat products empty. One issue that makes this a major proponent of worry is the inability of the firms to boost their production scales to match the existing upsurge in demand. This inability to satisfy the consumer threshold can be directly attributed to the set of conditions created in the various production units by the coronavirus pandemic restrictions ( Bunge and Newman, 2021). The shift in demand is an important factor, especially in the United States, where disruptive and new logistical patterns have been incurred across most food and beverage companies. This issue has been specifically difficult in the instances where retail sector food and beverage investments have to step up to affect the demands for their customers. One of the biggest challenges that face the firms in this field during the pandemic era is the shift in the shift in food demands and volumes of consumption. Studies have revealed that most individuals basically tend to consume more expensive meats such as steaks and minced meats. This has led to the surge and inflation in demand for meat products which the industry cannot efficiently sustain.
Most scholars attribute the several effects and disruptions in the food supply chains from the production to the consumer point to be contained in a set of multifaceted facets. Here, the food processing industry, in particular, faces numerous spin-offs and challenges that raised considerable concern on the sustainability and the security of the industry as a whole. In specific, it is important to note that the food and processing industry has been marred by several challenges in the past, ranging from cyberattacks, production and processing shortcomings, market, and a host of other variant issues that considerably affect the standing and the efficacy of the production units as well as the supply chains of the foods. However, none of these issues have been the main instigators of pandemonium in the stage of food and beverage production units as the Covid-19 in the recent past. In fact, the array of issues that have been stirred by the pandemic have laterally affected the entire industry.
Coupled with the recent issues that have been ravaging the food and beverage industry, the advent of the Covid-19 and its consequential effects have incepted several tangible issues in this industry. For instance, there has been a growing concern about food production, demand, and production. In addition to this, the coronavirus pandemic period has led to several contending issues on the approach and the effort that is accorded to the supply and distribution approaches of various food products and the industry as a whole. Movement restrictions for workers and the consumers have led to reduced flow of food supply as thus increasing the demand for the various food products in the totality of the consumer world. Changes in food demands and consumption by consumers due to pandemic issues and other mobility constraints have been viewed to be one of the largest talking points in this industry (Rude et al., 2020). To understand this, the disrupted food chains, especially in eateries and fast food joints, have faced the downside due to telecommuting, curfews, and other measures that have been put in place to handle and contain the spread of the virus. Here, the new set of instructions and regulations from the healthcare agencies and local governments, such as the restriction of various food trade policies, have led to the triggering of various internal issues in the food supply chains. For instance, it is apparent that the closure of several food and beverage outlets has been directly sourced from the array of this directive that sometimes proves difficult to handle for various workers and different food and beverage industries.
The food supply chains have also faced a host of financial constraints that have crippled the operations and the attainment of the various presets within this industry. The increased costs in the establishment of the new regulations and adaptations have all but increased the scale of the cost of operations within this industry. As a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis, response provisions for food workers were incepted to provide guidance for continuity of operations in the food processing facilities and manage coronavirus in the food industry. In specific reference, the meat and poultry processing industries are basically viewed as the critical infrastructure in food and agriculture. Additionally, the array of social distancing and other Covid-19 restrictions have only but increased the cost of operations of these firms (Dineen, 2020). In addition to this, it is apparent that the increased cost of operations can be attributed to The reduced levels of production stemming from either scaling down of the operations, closing of food outlets, the introduction of shifts and breaks to reduce workplace congestions, or the involvement of new aspects and technologies to counter the diversified customer demands. Here, the introduction of new logistics approaches to counter the morphed customer demands consequently mean that the companies will incur more expenses in terms of packaging, transport, communication, and the array of other factors which traverse the totality of customer deliveries.
A major concern shared by all food companies is preserving the employee’s health and the provision of a sufficient workforce. This is due to the labor and workforce shortages that are related to the pandemic due to those who do not want to work because of the fear of contracting the coronavirus. The health of the individuals working in the food industry is critical at this time than ever. However, keeping the distribution chain alive by the supply management strategies is also important to meet consumer demands. Maintaining the flow of food and commodities throughout the supply chain should be ensured with the contribution of all stakeholders. Ensuring the confidence of consumers is also essential for food safety and security (Bunge 2020). Additionally, the pandemic parameters have made it difficult to prioritize the food shortages in the food supply chain on top of the security of the food due to the high risk associated with transmission of the virus through food outlets. Thus, the individuals and the various food supply networks have been tied down with the necessary procedures and precautions to make sure that the food is safe. This means that the process begins right from the production sources, logistics, and the array of factors that are meant to ensure that the customers receive food that keeps them safe from any risks or instances of contracting covid-19.
It is essential to note that the initial establishment of Covid-19, the consequential results on the totality of food and beverage industries was immense. Here, business analysts attribute reduction of operations to a tune of 80% before the stabilization and the consequential reopening of the businesses. In the thick of the pandemic, it became apparent through the numerous health restrictions set in place that this particular industry had to forcefully and completely diversify its mode of operations (Phillips, 2020). Concerning this, businesses in the food and beverage industry, especially in the United States, also faced disruptions in the aspect of workers’ movement and staffing rules, closure of industries, and several other facets that primarily define the work environment and the understanding of this industry.
Through qualitative analysis, a cross sampling of two firms will be carried out in order to come up with conclusive and affirmative pieces of evidence concerning the impacts, mitigation, and preparedness of the selected firms in case of a future occurrence of a global pandemic of such scale. Here, Tyson Foods, a food and beverage company based in Arizona, and JBS company will be analyzed (Campuzano et al., 2020). The pre-pandemic era marked both companies’ success in the food and beverage industry unmatched in terms of the efficiency, market grasp, number of customers, and the range of activities that these firms engaged in. Just like any other business dealing in the same line of operations and adopting the same structure of operation as these two firms, it was apparent that the changes that the post-pandemic brought in introduced a huge shift in operational and structural understanding, execution of plans, and the overall running of the activities within the business.
For instance, the JBS atmosphere before the pandemic incorporated a high level of and volume of sales and dealers in beef, pork, and beef in wholesale terms. Based in Greeley, JBS is perhaps one of the largest business outfits that deal with dealing in this specific line of business and operation on such a huge scale. Aside from supplying fresh meat, poultry, and beef, the company is also a household name in dealing with canned food products of the same line, offering carriers in the aspect of import and export services. This wide range of activities and versatility thus implies that the pre-pandemic construing of this company’s operations and scale of performance was highly modulated and integrated with well-laid plans and organization.
The onset of the extreme effects of the pandemic in early 2020 was faced with different overall issues. Staffing rules that resonated with the current coronavirus pandemic regulations meant that the first issue that clouded the overall food industry was the likelihood to incommode internal changes in their various organizational models. Here, most researchers allude to the issue of excessive absenteeism as one of the earliest disruptions that the company faced before the coronavirus pandemic. Worker shortages in the overall work and corporate industry did not spare the JBS Company as well.
It is essential to note that the pre-pandemic had a lot going on in the meat processing industry. The Growing costs in the handling of the issues within the industry had earlier prospected for an increase in the cost of meat across the United States. Most specifically, the United States Department of Agriculture had proposed a 3% increase on meat products way long before the covid-19 ravaged the industry. The price increases meant that readjusting to the new regulations amid the onset of the pandemic required intricate handling with minimal slip-ups. JBS Company produces nearly a quarter of the meat supply in the United States. This implies that this regulation was poised to integrate new structural; adjustments even before the extremity of the Corona Virus set in.
The rates of infection and the spread of Covid-19 within the company was perhaps the greatest trigger to incommode a changeover in the operations of the company. A very specific example is referenced to the Greely, Colorado experience where anticipated gross exploitation of workers led to public outrage after several employees contacted covid-19, and it proved fatal to several individuals. Here, the covid-19 issue was attributed to the death of infected employees within the company. The meat packaging facilities in specific faced the largest share of issues that grounded the operations as well as slowing down or completely diversifying the production approaches employed by the company.
On the other hand, Tyson Foods has also not been spared by the effects of covid-19, just like the rest of the food and beverage industry outfits. Here, the company has been specifically exposed by several happenings that all cumulate to losses, job restructuring, and an array of other factors. Tyson Foods Company’s retail sales, which are predominantly set on meat products, have suffered significant implications in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic era (Stull et al., 2021). Despite the resilience that the company exhibits and the likelihood to overcome the dip in production and supply of its products across the United States due to its high resilience and the attachment that it has in the American market.
A specific reference that highlights the dire consequences that the pandemic extended to Tyson Foods is the official communication made by the company on the status of pork production. In the early stages of the pandemic, Tyson Foods had an overall production capability that served the majority of its clients well, with the required efficiency and consequential customer satisfaction. However, in the wake of the increase in the number and cases of coronavirus, as well as the increase in the demand for pork products in specific, the company made an announcement stating that its pork production had fallen declined to a tune of 50%. This was immediately preceded by the restrictions that were put in place to restrict the sale and trade-in of pork, poultry, and beef products.
As the issue of the coronavirus pandemic unfolded in the food and beverage industry, specific issues were identified in the meat packaging and meat products sector. Most specifically, price variations on different meat products due to different demands and supply contingencies have been an issue that has graced the entire pandemic period. Through this, however, it has been possible for the meat industry in particular to attain the much-required equilibrium and balance in various meat products. However, this proponent has led to huge impacts on the operations and the general configuration in the fundamental running of these organizations. Across the United States, for instance, the entirety of the meat [processing companies, JBS Meat Company and Tyson Foods included, recorded an increased disassembling of beef products from numerous products (Taylor, 2020). Additionally, it became apparent that the new measures in the food and beverage industry induced the industry to come face to face with the disparities and the much-shielded market anomalies associated with beef products. Despite covering for a wide range of customer specifications along with the beef products, the production of these products by both companies fell short due to the inability to maintain the market demands. This led to the majority of the wholesale beef traders such as Tyson Foods and JBS Meat Company shifted their operations to more in-demand products as well as the array of other products that proved sustainable to produce, transport, store, and account for in the changing market scene.
However, the later stages of the coronavirus pandemic were covered by various modifications and adaptations that were in specific attributed to the resurgence and the stabilization of the operations of the two firms. For instance, a general trend that swept across the various meat packaging industries in retaliation to the ravaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic effects included the increased efforts and calls to vaccinate the employees. Here, the industry’s overall prevalence of coronavirus cases and deaths proved that it was necessary to vaccinate all the workers in various departments as soon as the covid-19 vaccine was discovered (Mani, 2020). Prior to this, the industry had reported more than 50,000 cases tied to the production and the processing of beef, meat, pork, and poultry industries across the United States. The facilities also recorded a total of close to 300 deaths resulting from infections in this field.
As expected, the disruption of the fundamental operations and efficiency in the food and beverage industry is tied to a range of financial issues as well. Through this proponent and the understanding of basic economics, staying afloat and maintaining the normal operations in partial capabilities whereas having almost the same expenses leads to a reduction in revenue or even losses. For instance, the financial reports of these business outfits can be used to allude to the factual validity of this. To make up for the gaps in the profit margins, it is thus apparent that these firms need to come up with new ideas to cost-cut and to maintain the production and supply of their products during this period. Through this, the JBS company, in particular, incepted new modalities to shift its production understanding and structure from food service to the retail industry. This idea dramatically improved the business adaptability and functioning of the company, leading to the introduction of new success fronts in retail, consequentially resulting in profit for its former financial year. The understanding of the shift into the retail business incommodes a general understanding of the balance between the supply and the consumption dynamics (Paslakis et al., 2020). The coronavirus pandemic restrictions acted drastically on demand for food service. Thus, retail in food supply chains was the next most applicable facet that offered a prompt and direct response to the situation as well as handling quality, safety, and delivering for customer satisfaction. Nevertheless, the consequential relaxation of the covid-19 restrictions on movements and social interactions meant that the services were given the green light to proceed at the most careful and keenness of instructions. Here, the risk of producing food to account for the rise in the demand for meat products meant that Tyson Foods and JBS Meat Company observe the basic fundamentals of alleviating the further internal spread of the virus. Adjustment of shifts to account for all workers, regular and directed cleaning, adjustment of the distancing specifications are just but among the precautions that both of these companies have taken into account to ensure that they work gradually to achieve the optimal production levels without risking falling victim of poor and inefficient risk-mitigation policies which could hinder reputation, workability, credibility, and even the image of the companies.
In addition to this, the companies have taken up the retail business aspect seriously with the aim of achieving maximum optimization of the resources that they have in place. Both Tyson Foods and JBS Meat Company have been actively engaged in the retail association to make up for the losses and the customer-demand gaps in the market (Tyson, 2021). However, it is apparent that the incorporation of this new idea in such a strict timeline and considerable stress is a facet for misunderstanding and pressure on the systems and the resources of the business outfits; one of the main reasons why their approaches on the retail scene have faced several efficiency issues. For example, the JBS Meat Company has been attributed to problem-specific issues on logistics. Here, the company has reported several container shortages and other disruptions related to transport.
Evaluation of the Topic
The effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the food and beverage industry represents one of the most recent shake-ups in the food industry that reveals the extent and the stability of the various food models and approaches that are accentuated to the topic. For instance, the gaps identified in the meat industry reveal the urgent need to make the necessary changes to accommodate for the future disruptions on top of offering the maximum services to the consumers of such products. The food industry is one of the essential business and entrepreneurial outfits that has faced years of development and modifications to achieve its current state (Vos et al., 2021). To provision for food security, it is apparent that the food industry needs to be diversified beyond the current state so as to account for the totality in food security among all people. Additionally, the overview of the food industry through meat production is necessary in order to expose the efficiencies and the rigidities incommoded in the food industry.
Recommendations for Future Practice
The effects that the coronavirus has extended in the corporate world means that it is necessary for the totality of businesses to prepare for future-proof provisions. One of the ways to do this is to sharpen the value agendas of the business (De Paulo et al., 2021). Here, businesses need to incommode ways of dividing the business organizational elements into their constituent forms for easy execution. Additionally, companies should prioritize operational speeds, decision-making and treat talents as important aspects of the business environment.
The impact of Covid-19 on various businesses is immense. It, therefore, becomes apparent that several disruptions were made in the course of the pandemic by various businesses. Covering these issues required a change in attitude, operations, and the overall understanding of the business terms. As illustrated above, the meat industry through JBS Company and Tyson Foods faced some of the most disturbing operations phases that were handled through mitigations and operational shifts.
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