How to plan a successful COVID-exit strategy and get your business on track?
If the 2008-09 global recession was due to financial meltdown and economic vulnerabilities, the 2020 economic crisis stemmed from the global pandemic and subsequent health emergency. Both incidents hold lessons that business owners and leaders should follow to fast-track their organizations’ recovery in 2021.
Economic growth in 2021 is likely to improve compared to the growth rate in the second half of 2020. However, it will still be uneven. Additionally, the timing and growth will vary for different products and services and geographic markets.
Given the uncertain recovery of the economy, leaders and business owners need to plan a successful strategy to lead their teams and organizations over the year. The focus should be a forecast of their companies’ revenue potentially earned in every quarter of the year.
That said, the COVID-exit strategy is not straightforward. Leaders and business owners will have to make a few difficult choices.
- How much should my organization change, and how fast?
- How far should I go to change my current strategy and adopt faster and more agile approaches?
These are some of the questions that you’ll probably need to figure out. However, remember that if your organization does not move quickly, it will lose itself in the crowd.
One of the best ways to transform is to apply the “all-in” approach to transformation. It means to go ahead with full speed. Whether your organization’s transformation should be about portfolio moves or performance improvements misses the point. If you want to succeed, you must consider both and make your transformation go big. This approach will help your organization emerge stronger and sustain the competitive edge for a long time.
This article discusses how leaders can build a successful COVID-exit strategy and begin a holistic transformation.
Three fundamental steps that organizations can consider
If your organization is successfully managing portfolio and performance moves simultaneously in a transformation, you can invest in three foundational steps:
- Getting an honest view of the business’s full potential across both portfolio and performance moves.
- Understanding the impact of those moves.
- Creating a program with a proper structure and sequence to maximize value creation.
While understanding the full business potential, leaders must know the importance of setting a high aspiration. According to McKinsey & Company, companies that put their gross transformation targets at 75% of trailing earnings are more likely to create value sustainably.
Incrementalism may be risky for organizations trying to break out from the COVID-19 crisis. Management teams seek safety to confront the current situation and avoid the discomfort of going in for the big moves. In reality, leaders must use this time and opportunity to challenge assumptions and overcome social barriers that block bold moves.
Successful digital transformation requires leaders to answer these questions
- Which line(s) of business does my company no longer own naturally?
- Which trends accelerated by COVID-19 could transform my business?
- What are the new efficiencies and business models developed by my company to meet the COVID-19 necessities?
- How can my organization benefit from the advantages of those new efficiencies and business models in the next normal?
- How has my organization’s health changed, and what elements and capability building will be required to maximize the impact of the COVID-exit?
While you are trying to balance portfolio and performance moves, you will also need to consider the sequencing. Portfolio and performance initiatives must go hand-in-hand. You must consider each move by defining the magnitude, timing, and risk of impact.
According to McKinsey & Co., stand-alone portfolio moves capture less than half of value creation, especially in areas such as deal premiums, performance upside, or growing new business. However, if your strategy is ill-conceived, even stand-alone performance moves can take time and maybe outweighed by acquiring the wrong business lines.
Two cases of “all-in transformation”
While you must consider both portfolio moves and performance improvements, which of these should you execute first? The answer depends on the organization and context.
How and when you implement your transformation elements must be guided by your organization’s various circumstances and potential at any given time.
We’re listing two cases of “all-in transformation” here. Both the examples highlight the significance of sequenced transformation in unlocking business value. In both cases, the organizations identified the required potentials, set high aspirations, and deliberately sequenced the portfolio and performance moves to achieve the results. However, the companies differed in how they advanced from there.
In the first case, the value creation and its sequencing were as follows:
- The company streamlined its cost structure, focused on resource allocation, and carved out a few of its competing lines after consolidating business units and simplifying the executive team. This reorganization enabled about 10% of total transformation value creation.
- Next, the company improved the effectiveness of its sales force which generated high revenue growth. It also implemented automation and simplifications to reduce overheads and adopted a strategic procurement approach to reduce external expenditure. These operational improvements enabled about 75% of transformation value creation.
- Lastly, the company invested in optimizing firms it had acquired and integrated a similar set of core capabilities.
The second case, though an all-in transformation program, took a separate route.
- After a significant merger, the company re-evaluated its core business portfolio and divested non-core business. This approach enabled the organization to focus on financial flexibility by using the proceeds to buy back stock. Overall, this performance move allowed the company about 75% of value creation.
- By streamlining its operations, focusing on revenue growth and margin improvements, the company’s performance transformation enabled about 25% of value creation.
From these examples, leaders need to understand that they cannot choose between a portfolio-first or performance-first approach while planning their exit strategy. The order is not important, but leaders will have to accept that they are going all in, set high aspirations right from the start, and let the realization of full potential determine what happens. Avoiding an ad hoc approach to value creation may have significant implications over the long-term. Research reveals that organizations that go for the “all-in” transformation approach are more likely to show lasting improvements and are nearly three times more likely to be ahead of their competitors.
After a year of uncertainties, CEOs and business leaders are aware that the COVID-exit path will not be easy. However, if companies adopt an all-in transformation approach, they can expect more dynamism and flexibility during the journey.
At Fingent, we use cutting-edge digital solutions and rapid innovation to help businesses reinvent the future. We’re closely monitoring the situation and helping businesses return to work with our technology consulting and innovation capabilities. Feel free to get in touch with us to know how we can transform your business digitally.
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Instead of reaping one of the highest revenue growth-spurts, the hospitality industry faced the toughest-time in industry history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How the hospitality industry can leverage technology for a stronger resurgence in 2021
While the industry is known as an early embracer of digital disruption, many brands struggle to gain customer recognition. Surveys reveal that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 72% of the guests were more likely to return to a hotel having tech-led services they expected. With the onset of the pandemic, these expectations have only increased.
A recent survey by Deloitte Digital Study suggests that over 60% of travelers prefer to stay at a hotel having contactless services such as keyless room entries, voice assistants, communication with the staff using phones, and contactless check-ins and check-outs.
That said, 2021 looks promising. Travel bubbles and corridors are forming, facilitating new flows and movement and consequently hope for the hospitality industry. Some players in the industry are even leveraging technology to combat the losses due to the pandemic.
Here, we discuss five cutting-edge technologies that can help the hospitality industry revive its lost glory in 2021.
Many hospitality industry players have incorporated chatbots in their websites, social media accounts, apps, and even phone systems.
Instead of calling a travel agent or visiting several websites to read reviews from travelers, users can simply ask their questions to chatbots. Chatbots can use data from users, interactions, and products to provide personalized deals and recommendations. Additionally, bots can make reservations, compare prices and products, and even request quotes to create convenience for customers.
Chatbots can be customized to understand complex questions, detect upset customers, and immediately direct them to a human agent who can answer them.
Interestingly, chatbots offer a good ROI. They reduce operational costs while enabling support agents and enhancing the overall customer experience.
With advances in technology, natural language processing, and machine learning, chatbots can be trained further to answer more inquiries and recognize more inputs.
2. Cloud and Internet of Things
Cloud-based solutions help us access anything we want remotely. Along with IoT (Internet of Things) devices, cloud-based applications can help streamline operational complexities such as assigning staff duties, coordinating housekeeping, and confirming compliance with newly enforced safety and hygiene standards.
IoT helps with the remote monitoring and management of physical things in the hotel or resort premises, such as TVs, door keys, and even thermostats. Voice-based intelligent assistants such as Siri, Google, and Alexa also help control the connected devices remotely.
Simply put, hotels can benefit tremendously if their primary services are internet-based. Technology offers guests better control over their stay and experience and enables the hotel staff to get a more detailed picture of what works and what needs to be upgraded. Enhanced tools can provide guests with a superior experience, personalized communication systems, better assistance, and hygiene standards.
3. AI-powered systems
The hospitality industry will soon see a surge in the use of Artificial Intelligence or AI-powered systems. The system can include facial recognition with mask detection and thermal camera integration to improve safety and security within the premises.
Geofencing technologies can help brands build location-awareness apps to drive real-time updates and rebuild consumer confidence related to the tourism sector’s safety. It can even allow brands to send out push notifications such as instructions, directions, special offers, or promotions to customers based on their current location or journey map. These lead to a seamless experience when combined with smart queues and touchless check-ins upon the guests’ arrival or prompt them for payment on their smartphones during the check-out.
4. Mobile payment technology
Hospitality service providers can leverage mobile technology and data derived from digital payment tools such as Amazon Pay to offer personalized in-store and online purchase experiences to their customers. Typically, mobile wallets apply near-field communication (NFC), Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), and even sound waves to communicate with the point of sales without touching it for in-store purchases. For online payments, digital wallets can autofill payment information using biometrics or fingerprints to confirm the payer’s identity for added security.
Mobile banking, QR, payment links, and applications are a few additional functionalities that brands can adopt to augment and enhance the mobile payment process.
Leveraging technology to accept mobile payments come with several benefits:
- While traditional payments can take around 30-45 seconds to complete, a contactless transaction is completed within 15 seconds.
- Mobile payment includes two-step authentication, the limited amount that can be expended per transaction, and built-in features to prevent duplicate transactions. Additionally, the mobile payment data is heavily encrypted when stored and transferred.
- Businesses can link the mobile wallet approach to loyalty programs, push notifications, special deals, and other value-added services.
- Touchless/ contactless payment allows customers to keep their hands clean and restricts their exposure to the virus.
5. Data Science
Restaurant chains and groups are excellent data science candidates as they generate a significant amount of data both internally and externally (social media, email, inventory, POS systems, phone calls, etc.). The pandemic is pushing restaurants and hotels to invest in systems and training their staff to make decisions based on data that would otherwise be impossible to process.
A few ways restaurants have used big data to improve their efficiency and increase sales are:
- Using ordering trends and marketing analytics, restaurants can identify their most popular and least popular dishes and how a particular location and season can impact what gets ordered. This helps them optimize their menu and make informed decisions.
- Big data allows hotels/restaurants to recognize patterns and predict factors that affect the inventory counts.
- Through transaction data, loyalty program data, and social listening, restaurants can identify what can improve customer experience and what makes them come back.
Using data to optimize the menu can impact customer retention. Using data to improve customer retention can help modify the menu.
There’s no denying that going digital is the norm today, and the hospitality industry will have to continue to adopt technology to meet the shifting customer demands.
Fingent helps build custom, mobile-first workplace platforms for the hospitality industry that can automate your workflows, reduce your staff turnover, and enable you to deliver superior customer experiences.
Looking to rebuild and reinvent your hospitality business in 2021? Talk to an expert right away.
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The post-COVID-19 business scenario will not look the same across industries or countries. It will pose challenges and opportunities to leaders.
Tips for Business Leaders to Attain Success in the New Normal
While traits like empathy, authenticity, clarity, and agility remain crucial during this uncertainty, leaders face challenges to maintain a sense of connection and togetherness within their teams. However, as businesses are beginning to get back on track, leaders will have to leverage new insights and advancements to rebuild the workplace rather than returning to it as usual.
This article discusses five best practices that business leaders can follow and prepare their organization for the future.
1. Have a clear purpose
There is a big difference between a “factor” and a “must-have.” A company that has a unique affirmation of its identity embodies everything the company stands for. This purpose helps future-ready companies to attract people to join the organization, stay and thrive. Also, investors understand why it is valuable.
According to a survey, 82% of companies in the U.S said that organizational purpose is essential, but only half of these companies said their purpose drove impact. So, what can bridge the gap?
Leaders can set the purpose in motion and make it real for people. This can be achieved when employees identify and feel connected to their organization’s purpose. For example, Amazon leaves a chair vacant during meetings to represent the customer’s role in decisions. CVS Health stopped selling tobacco products to achieve the purpose of helping people to attain better health.
Research reveals that people who live their purpose at work are four times more likely to report better engagement levels than those who do not.
Simply put, purpose inspires commitment, reveals the untapped market potential, and even navigates uncertainty. So, companies must articulate what they stand for and use their purpose to connect employees and stakeholders in ways that justify their business choice.
2. Create a value agenda
An organization must create a value plan that helps convert its ambitions and targets into tangible elements such as business units, product lines, regions, and capabilities. This allows companies to articulate where value is created and set it apart to drive future success.
Organizations must use the value agenda to focus their efforts and enable their employees to understand what matters. If this is achieved, the results can be significant and hard to replicate.
For instance, Apple ensures it provides the best user experience. The company gives importance to not just the product design but also the product packaging. Apple has a dedicated packaging team to ensure users elicit the right emotional response while unboxing.
Having a clear value agenda will help a company devise better strategic priorities and become agile to shift resources as priorities change.
3. Distinct culture
Future-ready companies need to have a distinct culture that can help them distinguish themselves from others. Culture includes rituals, symbols, behaviors, and experiences that describe how an organization works.
For example, Amazon enforces its “two-pizza rule,” according to which every internal team should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas. This rule supports the company’s approach to meetings: no PowerPoint, shorter meetings, and start with silence to allow participants to go through the pre-meeting memo. These approaches may sound silly, but in reality, it enables the company to reach better decisions faster.
For successful companies, culture forms the backbone and fuels sustained excellence in performance over time. Studies show that companies with strong cultures are three times more likely to achieve higher total returns to shareholders than those without a healthy culture.
Leaders have to consider specific behaviors that employees at all levels adhere to create a robust performance culture.
4. Flatten structure
In recent years, the business environment has become more complex and interconnected. Many companies have adapted to these changes and created a more sophisticated matrix expecting it to solve market complexity. However, this is not how it should be.
Future-ready organizations must prepare themselves to become fitter, faster, flatter, and better at unlocking considerable value. The goal should not be to eliminate hierarchy but to flatten the organization, adopt the most uncomplicated profit and loss management structure, and reinforce business objectives with robust performance management and other mechanisms.
For example, Haier, a China-based company of appliances and electronics, adopted emergent and agile teams instead of the traditional hierarchy. The multinational company has no layers, no conventional bosses, and no middle management.
Another example to consider is Google. It follows a “non-zero-sum” management approach that emphasizes developing a communication line running in all directions rather than reporting relationships. It brings together cross-functional and professional skills while avoiding hierarchical mindsets. Such teams can act fast because they are flexible, are ready to learn from mistakes, and try new approaches.
In simple words, the future-ready organization must include models that are designed around people and activities. As technology advances, bosses will become coaches and enablers rather than micromanagers. When organizations set their priorities and ways of working, responsibilities, and transparent decisions, they can empower their frontline staff to make decisions.
5. Prioritize data-rich tech platforms
Data is of utmost importance, and future-ready companies need to take it seriously. For example, Netflix transformed from a small DVD-provider to a multifaceted global OTT content platform and media production company by leveraging insights from its user data through powerful algorithms.
So, future-ready companies need to understand that data can empower decisions, and the value agenda provides unexpected yet promising opportunities.
To get maximum benefits from the data, future-ready companies must create practical approaches to data governance, redesign processes in a modular fashion, and leverage cloud-based technology by dynamically reallocating their budgets. By utilizing the data effectively, companies can develop new products, services, and even LOBs.
There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has left many businesses in grief and economic dislocation. Business leaders must lead with empathy and compassion as they start to re-energize and revitalize their teams. The best leaders establish and reinforce behaviors that can support their organization during this crisis and after.
Contact us to know more about how Fingent’s leadership supports customers to ensure business continuity and enables employees to engage effectively during the current pandemic.
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How can companies step up their game and deliver the COVID-19 vaccine efficiently?
The COVID-19 vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the EU, and a few other countries. Many frontline workers and even the priority population have already received their first doses. Vaccines from several major global manufacturers like India are also set to arrive and be distributed for administration globally.
However, in certain places, the vaccine effort has hit a few roadblocks. Deployment to vulnerable countries and the at-risk group is also slow. As the COVID-19 vaccine is being made available, supplying the doses efficiently with utmost care will be the ultimate logistics challenge. Massive volumes have to be handled, stored through cold chains, and distributed. All processes need to comply with safety regulations. In other words, the vaccines should be distributed quickly and safely worldwide.
In the United States, several organizations play a crucial role in vaccine deployment by adapting their operations to meet the demands. Suppliers, manufacturers, and regulators are stepping up the production of vaccines. Additionally, several thousands of medical, pharmacy staff, frontline workers, and vaccine handlers attend training sessions to understand the peculiarities of different manufacturers’ specific vaccines.
Here, we have discussed seven steps that organizations must engage in to ensure the safe delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine. Following these steps can boost the productivity of your logistics business and efficiency on your future orders and deliveries.
1. Ensure raw-materials supplies
Vaccine producers can partner with global suppliers of raw materials and provide support to create redundancies wherever needed in the supply chain. Last year, many manufacturers established new partnerships. However, a wide diversity of suppliers is necessary to meet the demands of each vaccine seeking approval. Manufacturers can negotiate contracts and offer incentives to suppliers who invest in boosting production and stocking-up the goods. Also, producers can evaluate their inventory management and check for stock-outs of essential raw materials.
2. Collaborate with the government
In addition to the above point, the producers must have sufficient interaction with the government to increase production and maintain it. Many manufacturers and suppliers are working closely with the government to manage natural resource allocation. This collaboration must be continued over the economic and public health implications of outsourcing legacy products and optimize production lines for COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, producers can collaborate with the government to create technology-transfer timelines and develop innovative ways to push bulk volumes to the market. It also helps improve inventory management and distribution.
3. Boost manufacturing by adhering to quality guidelines
As producers need to ramp-up operations in new or existing manufacturing facilities, they could look for opportunities to accelerate the process. Companies can use several digital and analytics tools to expand capacity and scale faster. Additionally, they can accelerate technology transfer time. For example, companies grow and speed up production by conducting engineering runs, validation runs, and stability studies simultaneously.
By collaborating with regulators and manufacturers, authorities can ensure that they meet the established and newly issued guidelines related to the dosage quality and procedures. With such coordination and understanding, higher throughput can be achieved. Similarly, stakeholders can collaborate and employ novel technology platforms such as mRNA to establish new vaccine production standards. Creating best practices at the facilities and the production can help set a clear road map for new manufacturing facilities. Eventually, this can improve future production capacity and throughput while meeting all the quality standards.
4. Optimize cold chain logistics
To mitigate distribution risks, manufacturers and distributors must identify failure points and create redundancies at each stage. For instance, dry ice can be used in warehouses fitted with freezers to deal with power loss or machine malfunctions. So, sources of dry ice must be identified across the distribution routes to restock coolers as required.
Reporting systems can be set up to identify supply-chain disruption events whenever they occur, using the data for refining best practices and procedures to avoid more losses.
In case there is a drop in the vaccine demand to the point that they are not immediately consumed, vaccine inventories must be redistributed to locations with higher demand. Manufacturers and distributors must avoid too much stockpiling to maintain the cold chain and reduce risks to the receiving administration location. If this is not possible in some areas, long-term storage by replenishing dry ice or increasing freezer capacity can be considered.
5. Address labor shortage
Currently, many locations are relying on hospitals and primary-care sites alongside retail pharmacies for vaccine administration. However, as vaccines will be deployed to the general public, more vaccine administrators will be needed. So, deploying the vaccines to larger and streamlined sites will be more efficient. This will improve patient safety, utilization of labor, and speed of vaccination.
6. Reduce spoilage at “care-points”
Manufacturers, distributors, and companies can collaborate to create ways to identify and track instances of spoilage. They can achieve this with proper guidance, training, certification, and optimization of doses.
As vaccines will be deployed to broader populations, accelerating the first-dose allocation as scheduled will be of paramount importance.
A possible way to prevent second doses from spoiling is to ask the vaccine recipient to commit to a second dose appointment at their point of care before administering the first dose.
7. Plan to overcome IT challenges
COVID-19 stakeholders must identify IT systems and assess their ability to perform at scale. They must also agree upon standard requirements and processes to generate and share threat intelligence. Awareness of attacks on the vaccines will lower the chances of seizures in number and magnitude.
Additionally, manufacturers and distributors can commission systems to track if the vaccine recipient has demonstrated immunity. This will not only build confidence in immunity but help people have a recognizable and accepted way of certifying that they have been vaccinated. This is true, especially if it will release them from travel limits and other pandemic-related restrictions.
The organizations involved in the deployment of vaccines are not solely responsible for managing it across the common operating model. The risks can be reduced to a great extent with increased cooperation from stakeholders. So, working groups could get together to identify the risks, assess their impact, and determine if certain risks are evolving and how they can be addressed.
Building smart and custom logistics software applications can help fulfill the increasing demand for last-mile delivery. Fingent helps build healthy tech partnership ecosystems to ensure uninterrupted supply and distribution of your products and services. It is the right opportunity to look at the future of logistics and decide whether to continue on the pre-COVID trajectory or change course. To see how our custom logistics software solutions can improve your team’s productivity, get in touch with us.
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How successful leaders are responding to COVID-19 business implications
As the world is wrestling with the unforeseeable implications of the coronavirus pandemic, our social and economic fabric is under severe stress. For most businesses, COVID-19 is unlike any crisis that they might have faced in the past. The urgency to respond has forced every business to rethink how they operate if they are to obtain any chance in navigating these new challenges. Times like these need leaders who must act quickly to minimize the risk to their employees and business operations while looking forward to creating a promising future. Beyond the crisis, they must ensure that their organization has invested in the right capabilities to adapt to the “new normal.”
A resilient leader is a person who sees the most challenging crisis as a hurdle that you can hop over, not as an impregnable wall. That has been a hallmark of successful leaders. It is a remarkable ability that will help their companies recover quickly from a crisis and transform it into an opportunity to grow their business. Resilience is a learned ability, and it must be acquired, built, and developed by all business leaders.
This article will present a detailed guide on leadership practices that will help business leaders respond effectively to the present crisis.
1. Do not narrow your focus
When faced with severe stress, the human mind tends to narrow its focus. Perhaps it is a survival mechanism, but it restricts your field of vision to the immediate foreground. Leaders must intentionally pull back to take a broad and holistic view of both the challenges and opportunities. Remember a bend in the road is not always the end of the road. Well-focused focused leadership fosters well-directed management.
2. Do not panic
People do not follow leaders. They follow models of behavior. They look to their leaders for courage and strength when faced with challenging situations. Remember, your fear is contagious. Even if you do not say it out loud, people can understand and sense your fear. You cannot expect people to pivot if the leader is not positive. Aim to stir up energy in others, not fear. Empower your people with courage so that they can help in business recovery.
3. Turn the crisis into a stepping stone not a tombstone
Do not allow the present crisis to paralyze you. Resilient leaders get ahead of challenging situations when they welcome inputs from others, admit their own mistakes, and stay open to suggestions. They take steps to adapt courageously. Resilient leaders must be willing to take risks confidently and experiment new ideas. It is easy to be stuck in the same routine until situations like this pandemic require organizations to change or die. Leaders who are not afraid to make bold decisions are the need of the hour.
Perhaps you must put a hold on large initiatives and expenses. Just do it. Do not depend on your past strategy. Those strategies may not be relevant now. Assess the ground situation often. Extend your antennae across the entire operative ecosystem. The best way to accomplish this is to create a network of local leaders and influencers. They can assist you by giving you updated information about the sentiments of employees, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders.
4. Do not fixate on what is closed
Managing a crisis like COVID-19 can be thrilling for some leaders. However, that can be a trap where you might feel the urge to micro-manage the present. Resist the temptation to take over. Instead, use your experience to provide necessary guidance and support. A leader fixated on micro-managing will disrupt the rhythm of employees. Though managing the present is important, fixating only on one aspect hampers the growth of your business. It is like being bent on opening a closed-door when your house is on fire instead of running out via any other open door or window. Similarly, instead of micro-managing, a leader must take advantage of other employees by delegating responsibilities and trusting people while making tough decisions.
Such trust starts with transparency: a willingness to admit your ignorance, and the track record you have built over years. Building such trust helps you develop positive relationships with your employees and customers. The fact is, a leader may be willing to make a dramatic change, but they aren’t going to make much headway without positive relationships to support that change.
5. Rest, refuel and recover to rediscover the new win
One common mistake most leaders make is determining what to do without considering all the facts. The only thing that is certain about today’s crisis is uncertainty. All the facts may not be available or clear within the expected time frame. However, leaders must refrain from depending on their intuition or previous experience to make decisions. Resilient leaders better cope with uncertainty by continually collecting information and observing how well their response is working.
Think of it as a long drive where a vehicle needs rest, refueling, and recovery before it continues onwards. In practice, it means that leaders must pause from time to time, assess the situation from multiple vantage points, and anticipate the possible outcome before they act. This prevents leaders from overreacting to new information as it comes in. True, there might be times when leaders will have to act quickly and decisively. However, leaders must take time to stop, assess, and anticipate before making further moves.
Two behaviors that help leaders in this regard are updating and doubting. Updating involves considering the fresh perspective of the team. Doubting involves critically considering if their decisions require modifications, adaptations, or the possibility of discarding. This will help leaders develop new workable solutions.
6. Avoid over-centralization
Situations like this pandemic increase risk, ambiguity, and uncertainty. This may scare leaders into becoming controlling and overbearing. They might create new layers of approval even for minor decisions. This might result in everyone involved becoming less responsive and frustrated with each new constraint. Instead, organize and determine which decision you will make and which you can delegate. Have clear guiding principles and guidelines.
7. Anticipate and welcome structural changes
The current pandemic has accelerated structural changes at a quicker pace. For example, the possibility of remote work was slowly evolving before this. Today though, worldwide, most businesses have learned and understood the increased efficiency of communicating and coordinating over the virtual platform. Keep pace with the changes.
Case study: How Fingent created an inspiring and collaborative digital workplace for Sony Mobiles? Click here to download
8. Do not disregard the human element
The present crisis is so intense because it is affecting people. A leader may forget that the coordinated efforts of their people go into the daily metrics of share price, revenue, and cost. Create an environment where people are collectively motivated to contribute to their shared success.
A crisis such as COVID-19 forces people to think of their own survival first. They might be bombarded with many anxieties concerning themselves, their work, and their families. A resilient leader will ensure a hands-on approach to this instead of assigning such as communications to legal staff. One of the most vital aspects of a leader’s role is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Leaders must pay careful attention to the struggles people are facing and take measures to support them.
9. Communicate effectively and powerfully
Communication during a crisis is either overdone or underdone. George Bernard Shaw once said, “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” An overconfident talk may raise suspicions about what a leader knows and how well they are handling the crisis. Distance working can create communication barriers as well and a team will look to their leaders for emotional reassurance and practical direction. This makes it important that leaders communicate frequently and thoughtfully. This will assure stakeholders that they are coping well with the crisis. Ensure to make your why’s clearly known to all involved. Let others know about what you are trying to do. Keep communication open and transparent. Communication also means that leaders listen and pay attention to differing opinions. They allow other team members to express their views firsthand.
10. Keep up the routine
Whatever happens, good leaders ensure that their teams are always active, working, thinking, learning, socializing, and innovating. Even if it is virtual, their teams are on the move. When working at a physical location, work involves chatting, socializing, laughing, and making friends. Leaders do well to find ways to do these things even remotely.
11. Welcome feedback
The most resilient leaders are concerned not only about their personal development but are more interested in the development of others. They recognize that everyone can contribute better if they learn from their strengths and weaknesses. Sharing constructive criticism plays a major part in this as well. The leader who welcomes feedback, negative or positive, is most likely to coach others well.
Leaders, you are models
Across the world, COVID-19 is testing business leaders in every aspect of their role. The consequences of the present pandemic could last for a long time. It could present greater difficulties than anyone could ever anticipate. Resilient leaders focus their attention on leading beyond the crisis toward a more promising future as they manage the present well. The prolonged uncertainty and ambiguity are added reasons for leaders to embrace the best practices discussed in this post. The best leaders establish and reinforce behaviors that can support their organization during this crisis and after.
Contact us to know more about how Fingent’s leadership supports customers to ensure business continuity and enables employees to engage effectively during the current pandemic.
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Challenges Your Business Should Overcome in the Post-COVID Phase
- Challenges in Reopening Strategy
- Challenges of Shifting Customer Habits
- Challenge of Operations and Employee Safety
- Impact on Operations for Manufacturing Units
- Challenges of Finance and Banking
- Tax, Trade & Regulatory Challenges
- Crisis Management
- Focus on tomorrow
The past few months have been an extremely challenging time for communities across the globe as the pandemic continues to take its toll. Amidst all the chaos and anxiety however, the world is trying to return to the new normal. During this unprecedented reality, businesses are witnessing the beginning of a dramatic restructuring of economic and social order. Everyone is looking forward to the next normal that will materialize after the battle against COVID-19 has been won, with hopes that it will be better and more profitable. Challenges lie ahead though. What are these COVID-19 Aftermath challenges and how do we combat them? This article will discuss that.
Where Do We Start?
With lives and livelihoods in danger, businesses are running a spreadsheet for basics that never mattered so much before. Plans are being drawn how many people can fit into a workplace spaced six feet apart, where the one-way path should begin and end, and what adjustments can and need to be made to the entrance, lunchrooms, and restrooms.
All of these are critical tasks but chalking them down is not going to be enough to mobilize and stabilize businesses. We need an enterprise-wide ability to absorb uncertainty while incorporating lessons into operating models quickly. This might seem like a daunting path beset with challenges, but an action plan can get you through this successfully. This article discusses 7 major challenges and resolutions to jumpstart the recovery.
1. Challenges in Reopening Strategy
The pandemic has impacted nearly every industry including retail. Manufacturing is on a downward slope as production moves at a snail’s pace. Supply chains are being disrupted due to higher air freight costs. This supply shock is having a knock-on effect on retail. Navigating their way out of this spiral is going to need a solid reopening strategy.
What can businesses do?
- Restart and reset, not just reopen: Employee and customer behaviors have drastically changed. Be ready to start a new era of business. Build courage and foresight to change for more than just immediate needs.
- Be ready to adopt omnichannel integration: Omnichannel initiatives offer contactless curbside pickup and other features, so be willing to continuously improve services.
- Shape your future workforce: Redeploy store associates to fill other roles. Upskill then to achieve the required digital fluency. Cross-train employees so that they can fill in when others are away.
- Act swiftly to radically accelerate in-store integration: Customers may not be inclined to visit stores unless you give them a good reason to do so. Offer your consumers compelling value propositions for store traffic.
- Develop a future-state vision: Adopt an omnichannel view that includes store closure plans or rent negotiations.
- Digitize and automate non-core tasks: Automate labor scheduling. Expand the use of self-checkout and mobile checkout processes. Provide remote-management tools for in-house and field managers.
- Shift tasks: Sourcing and distribution teams must find ways to move certain tasks, such as price tagging and labeling, away from stores.
2. Challenges of Shifting Customer Habits
As the coronavirus spread progressed across geographies, customer behavior has also changed drastically. Customer habits are changing, and we can expect them to continue to change in the weeks and months ahead. We can break down their behavior into three phases where each phase shows a distinct behavior:
- Escalation: Customers tend to load up on essential goods such as groceries and medicines which include immunity-boosters.
- Accumulation: Customers brace for a sustained quarantine by stocking up on everyday personal care products.
- Recovery: Customers will continue to spend on consumer goods.
Also, customers now prefer making purchases online, their focus has shifted more to eCommerce.
How can businesses respond?
- Enable flexible product flow: Ensure your product inventories align with consumer demand. Make distribution centers more flexible. As more customers purchase products online, make sure you minimize distribution disruptions.
- Bolster online presence: Accelerate direct-to-customer sales.
- Maintain close contact with customers: Ensure they know that products are available.
3. Challenge of Operations and Employee Safety
One of the main concerns of a company leader during and after the COVID-19 pandemic is its impact on operations. Evidently, the epidemic has adversely affected sales volume and the ability to serve clients and customers as well as manage the business. Companies are faced with the challenge of employees being quarantined for weeks after business or vacation trips. They lack the tools required to organize remote work during the quarantine.
How to reorganize the workplace?
- Establish dedicated cross-functional teams: They can coordinate the activities between various business units, provide necessary information to the management team, and communicate with employees, partners, and employees.
- Analyze critical roles and key positions: Develop an effective process for managing decision-making under various scenarios.
- Ensure the safety of employees: Review policies for maintaining good hygiene at the workplace.
- Ensure that there is no crowding in the office: Decide on which roles can be done remotely and which roles require employees to be present in the office. This will help you optimize the work with only 20-30% of employees at the office.
- Easy Transportation: Ensure that transportation is arranged for and accessible by the employees.
- Plans for support staff: Have a written plan on how to stagger the arrival of support staff such as receptionists and security guards.
- Workout checkpoints: Have a series of checkpoints where testing can be done.
4. Impact on Operations for Manufacturing Units
Manufacturers face formidable challenges when it comes to restarting their operations. Globally, they are facing workforce disruptions at an unprecedented scale. Most manufacturers are yet to determine how they will function and perform while struggling to cope with the present scenario. They need fit-for-purpose plans.
How can manufacturers respond?
- Start with possible scenarios: Start with the current need for workforce and design a workforce approach.
- Tap into technology: Consider the possibility of automating certain aspects of the industry which would avoid too many people at the site.
- Create a roster: Ensure that teams come in at different times during the day depending on the number of workers and the skill required at any given point.
- Focus on a safe work environment: Organize regular cleaning and disinfection of workplaces and tools. Invest in medical equipment such as thermometers and sanitizers.
- Review sick leave policies: Consider the possibility of providing temporary sick leave without the need to provide a doctor’s notice.
- Develop agile workforce strategies: It keeps the global economy viable.
- Create your own news channel: Misinformation can create particular challenges for manufacturers. Combat this by ensuring that you put out timely, accurate, and appropriate information for your workers.
5. Challenges of Finance and Banking
Economic uncertainty and risk have either directly or indirectly impacted most finance companies. As businesses slow down, companies are seeing lower revenue due to reduced cash flow.
Managing cash and liquidity positions may become crucial in the coming months. This situation is worsened by inadequate digital maturity, staff shortages and immense pressure on the existing infrastructure as companies deal with the impact of the pandemic. You need strategies to safeguard your customers’ financial security while you safeguard their wellbeing and yours as well.
What can finance services do?
- Craft a strategic response: Adopting the right digital technologies enables innovations. These must include solutions for analytics and insights to detect and prepare for new risks.
- Enable Automation: Ensure availability of digital banking services through business process reengineering and automation.
- Leverage AI capabilities: There has been and will be a surge in call volumes during and after COVID-19. Leverage AI-backed tools and conversation platforms to deal with the surge.
- Initiate video banking: Live web video banking solutions can assist your team in serving customers and maintaining business continuity.
6. Tax, Trade & Regulatory Challenges
There are significant tax provisions and other measures to assist businesses that stakeholders should carefully review. Post pandemic, they should think about the broader implications of their business decisions and strategies.
What can you do?
- Business disruption: Develop restructuring plans. Review intra-group service expenses and expense allocations.
- Cash tax savings: Manage cash taxes by potentially reducing taxable income. Obtain available refunds. Work with the treasury function to align repatriation strategies. Model taxable income against the company’s overall tax posture.
- Agile tax models: Supply chains and business strategies need reevaluation, which is best achieved by agile tax models.
- Review all aspects: Stabilize supply chains. Brace for an unpredictable revenue. Reduce costs and increase productivity.
- Meet regulatory obligations: Despite budget constraints, tax compliance requirements must be met. Consider co-sourcing or outsourcing tax compliance.
- Stay informed: Understand the expense of various supply chain configurations and opportunities. Make informed decisions quickly.
7. Crisis Management
Your response to the crisis today can position your business to thrive tomorrow. You need to prioritize incident management along with the safety of workers. It is important for organizations to understand what data is relevant to their business. Some companies are developing new contingency plans while others are using existing ones.
What can organizations do?
- Dedicate a team for crisis management: Ensure that every team member knows what their role is. Train each team member in executing the plan to be sure that they are ready at any moment.
- Establish facts: Strong data reinforces a central element of crisis planning. Establish facts accurately during the crisis. Use the facts to inform your response strategy.
- Collaborate: Collaborate with the public relations team, legal and regulatory teams, and operational and response teams. Create a small core committee from among them.
Focus on tomorrow
The response window for any crisis is measured in months but recovery is measured in years. Create scenarios today to plan for a stronger tomorrow and beyond. Wider and longer-term perspectives can help your business emerge stronger and more sustainable. Data, Readiness, and Empathy are the three vital qualities required to keep people healthy and businesses running. Fingent is closely monitoring the situation and helping businesses return to work with our technology consulting and innovation capabilities. Contact us to know more.