Covid-19: Balancing Your Business Response
As your business begins to cope with the Post-Covid world, here are some insights that can help you in building a balanced response.
By DHEERAJ GUDURI
Many businesses have been hit with the global pandemic Covid-19. Many companies have gone into losses as their operations went into a halt, either partially or fully.
If you are a business leader getting through the hangover of Covid-19’s effects and are just getting started with building a response that ensures that your company’s operations resume smoothly, here are a few aspects that you would need to consider. The broad outline has been put up below with the help of a few guidelines from Coronavirus and Business: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Your employees are your strength and are your greatest assets. Ensuring their needs are being met should be the foremost step one should take as a leader. Access to healthcare and daily supplies can take a hit depending on the employees’ paychecks and city lock-downs. This also varies from place to place, someone working with you remotely in New Zealand might not be as affected as someone in China or NY would be.
Ensure that your employees have enough information regarding everything they need to know. Also reach out to those who might be the worst affected, to pay for their needs if required.
Their well-being must be a priority and leaders must ensure active steps are being taken in this regard on all levels. Try a multi-tier approach if needed, especially when your employees live in different parts of the world.
Perform a thorough risk assessment before any travel plans. Take a closer look at information regarding the traveller, the destination of travel, travel itinerary and modes of transport. In addition, ensure that the employees can access travel policies which are clear and also mention if the policy is subject to change and review.
Not all regions of the world are equally affected, so cancelling all important trips need not be the best solution. However, ensure that the traveller has access to the right information regarding safe practices to be followed. There has to be considerable amount of understanding as to whether travelling is important.
Take into consideration how the travelling member feels. Their own opinion must be crucial to making any kind of a decision. Take into consideration all the other factors such as national guidelines, international travel bans etc. while making your future plans as well.
Cut down on travel if you can make everything remote. If not, ensure you provide remote support to the travellers and are in touch with them constantly.
There are all kinds of information out there that might confuse your employees and make them anxious. It can be regarding travel, future, policies, growth trends, market forecast etc.
To the extent possible, ensure that the right set of information is put up for everyone in your organisation. In addition, include information regarding the decisions taken by the leadership in your company, and make it as detailed and transparent as possible.
This ensures that employees feel safe with regards to their work and future with your company, and also understand the new work patterns. Policies might be revised with respect to leaves and holidays. Make it more accessible to them.
Ensure your team has sufficient IT systems and considerable amount of support for evolving work requirements. Plan for sufficient alternative systems and channels for communications, work tracking and reporting.
Certain infrastructure will always be missing or malfunctioning in different parts of the world wherever your employees are working from. This demands that you ensure that the right infrastructure is within their reach always for continuity of work.
Apart from that, right remote work policies need to be created and communicated effectively. They must always be readily accessible from a central information hub.
Supply Chain Stabilization
Focus on workforce planning a bit more. Restarting business operations post-Covid would mean that there is significant planning necessary for workforce and labour. If your teams run with lesser people than before, you wouldn’t want to put more stress on your employees than permissible. Find alternative ways of branching out work for smoother flow of operations.
Depending on the type of your organisation, you might need to find different sources of supply and build secondary supplier relationships, in addition to securing critical inventory and capacity. If your businesses rely on other businesses from affected parts of China or any similar part of the world, then this step is critical.
Schedule production planning accordingly. Consider using resources, both raw material and workforce, in a way that is more fine-tuned to the current demand. Depending on the size of your organisation, you might have to do rapid re-planning and strategizing at various levels.
Inventory planning also needs to be done if your strategy previously didn’t factor in the possibility of Covid, which many companies didn’t. Demand and supply variability are sure to increase significantly. Refine your inventory strategy to mitigate the risks of supply shortages.
Business Analytics, Tracking & Forecasting
Make use of business analytics and business intelligence tools to ensure that you’re getting interesting and relevant insights that could help you make quicker and better business decisions. Involve more frequent reporting cycles than before as the market fluctuations are more rapid than before.
Covid-19 has been called as a black swan event, an event that you haven’t seen before and don’t know what it looks like. It has certainly taken us all by surprise. In this event, predictive analytics can help big time. To be able to forecast more, you’ll need more data in your hands. Ensure that you have enough data to use and use predictive analytics.
If your organisation isn’t big enough for such an exercise, take a closer look at market forecasting pertaining to your industry published by other agencies and bodies. These reports will certainly help you to move quicker and respond better.
The effects of Covid-19 are felt across all industries, segments and processes. You could help those in your supply chain, your community around you, the local government, your industry etc.
You could bring together various ideas to tackle social needs across many layers as per your abilities and capacity. Shouldering some responsibility here can go a long way in maintaining relations and make you a better corporate.
Use insights on these aspects clearly to get your business up and running to perform better and become a post-Covid industry leader. You could also consider revising your policies and processes throughout different segments to ensure smoother operations.
Taking into consideration aspects relating employees such as their needs, travel plans, employee communication and remote work ensures you have a healthy and a strong workforce that pays off well in the long run.
Apart from that, aspects such as business analytics, forecasting, supply chain stabilisation ensure that you are making better decisions and are ready for all kinds of market fluctuations.