Consulting firms - particularly the elite private firms like McKinsey and BCG - are supposed to earn their keep during crises, at least in theory. Aside from helping companies 'streamline' their operations (i.e. justify painful job cuts), it's really their only utility.
That's why we weren't surprised to learn that the only people on Earth who worked harder than the doctors and nurses in Wuhan over the past week have been the McKinsey marketing division, which managed to put together this colorful 'Crisis Response Report', a mix of widely-known information combined with some internal analysis, to try and drum up some business.
The report, entitled "Coronavirus COVID-19 Crisis Response" and dated Feb. 14, features a useful breakdown of where things stand (or at least where things stood a week and a half ago when they wrote the report), as well as a deck of slides explaining what McKinsey can do "for you" during this stressful time.
After reading the "executive summary", we can grasp the report's key takeaway: While China is expected to start ramping up production over the next week or two, it's possible that over the long term, we may see only a partial recovery. Because of this, companies need to start thinking about how to 'diversify' their supply chains. That's where the good people at McKinsey can help.
On the first slide, McKinsey started by explaining the history of coronaviruses, and where COVID-19 fits in, while also explaining that this is a "new" virus that has never infected humans before.
Slide No. 2 was dedicated to the topic of how the virus is transmitted, and how far it has spread. These charts are, of course, two weeks out of date, which means they're not really helpful other than reminding us how quickly the virus has spread.
Another (dated) roundup of the outbreak's "impact to date."
The chart below, about key factors that could influence the severity of the outbreak, is still useful.
Introducing, "the Chart that Dr. Tedros wants the world to see". The WHO director-general on Wednesday scolded governments and the press for using the word 'pandemic' in a way that sparks panic.
McKinsey's "base case" echos most of the Wall Street players: Right now, the consensus is for some of the economic impact to bleed into Q2, leaving open the possibility of a rebound in H2.
Here's a more detailed look at the potential fallout for the manufacturing sector.
Even though it's a little stale, this might be the most important chart in the deck.
This breakdown of some of China's most important factories is also helpful.
Again, McKinsey is taking some helpful travel data that we've seen before and presenting it in a handy visual.
For investors and business executives, McKinsey has created this handy 'coronavirus preparation' checklist.
The report also included some marketing materials for McKinsey, including information about the firm's work on previous outbreaks, while also introducing its "team of experts in epidemiology, crisis management, supply chain and stress testing."
But that material is a little too dry, so we figured we'd leave it out. However, if you're an anxious kleptocrat worried about whether a coronavirus outbreak could undermine your regime's grip on power, give McKinsey a call. They're good with that kind of ting.