With spiraling numbers of supply chain professionals working from home due to cancelled conferences and travel bans triggered by efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, logistics pros are turning to online platforms to ensure business continuity.
One part of conducting work in the virtual world is the use of electronic classrooms—known as e-learning—which offer a way to provide specialist training services without incurring the face-to-face contact that can spread the Covid-19 disease, according to The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA).
E-learning is growing in importance as increasing numbers of people adopt self-isolating policies, as both educational establishments and companies either close completely or ask their employees to work from home as part of dealing with the severe health crisis, according to Huntingdon, U.K.-based LEEA, which is a trade association for the lifting industry.
For example, dozens of logistics equipment and service vendors cancelled their planned attendance at the biannual Modex trade show in Atlanta this week, while other conferences were cancelled completely, including the TPM show in Long Beach, California, the LogiMat show in Germany, and the Wearable Robotics Association’s WearRAcon 20 symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“The impact of Coronavirus will be serious but it will eventually dissipate. It is important that, in the meantime, we do all we can to ensure disruption is minimized and we are able to hit the ground running when conditions return to normal,” LEEA said in a statement. “Fortunately our interconnected world makes this less of a challenge, and many colleges and businesses are already looking to e-learning for continuity of education, training and productivity,” LEEA said.
Online learning is also seeing increased use at education institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which last week curtailed non-essential travel and launched online learning platforms for students in its MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL) program, MIT Professor Yossi Sheffi said in a March 5 webcast titled “The Coronavirus and the impact on the Supply Chain.”
“Considering the evolution of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the potential for contagion in large gatherings, we are making major modifications for all events at MIT CTL for the next few months. All events in the near future will be either postponed indefinitely or converted to virtual events,” CTL said in a statement Thursday.