Transfiguring your business post COVID-19
Raghunath. T, Director
The phrase “we are living in unprecedented times” has probably never ever been used more often in history than in the last few weeks.
As the world is still grappling with the Covid19 crisis that has brought almost every nation on the earth to a standstill physically and economically, much has been written about what the new world reality will look like.
From the perspective of most companies, these could mean changes in the way they approach their external interfaces. These could mean
- Focusing on online v/s offline sales channels
- Greater focus on domestic customers
- Reducing overdependence on specific sectors
- Focusing on more robust supplier networks etc.
These changes are to be expected soon and are certainly factors that any business leader should consider sooner rather than later.
However, along with the external preparedness come the more interesting and probably the so far undiscovered area of internal structures, systems, processes and resources. Adversity has made businesses realize that there are tremendous opportunities for building internal efficiencies.
Any organization that is planning to come out of the current adversity will need to seriously consider addressing the following areas.
- Structure: What is the right structure that the company should adopt going forward? Can we proceed with tweaks to the current structure or is there a need to restructure? Certainly, restructuring is not a decision that companies should take in haste. However, if it is a question of survival or restructuring, the choice is quite obvious.
- Business Processes: There have been drastic forced changes to several processes that companies have undertaken in the last few weeks. Are these changes sustainable? Is there more that can be done? Are there any new risks that have emerged due to the process changes?
- Process redundancies: Are some processes being done because you have always been doing them? Are there ways to redesign those processes without compromising on controls or risks?
- Process Outsourcing: Are there some noncustomer-facing / backend processes that are being done by in-house teams that could be efficiently outsourced? Are there functions that do not really need full-time personnel?
- Process Offshoring: If the last few days have taught us anything, it is the fact that most employees can work as effectively from their homes as from their office desks. Taking this further, are there opportunities to offshore processes or move teams to less expensive locations?
- Process Automation: Are there potential savings in costs by automating processes? Even if there is a seemingly fully functional ERP in place, what are the efficiencies possible by taking it to the next level by investing in areas like Robotics Process Automation ?
- Resource Utilization: Another important learning from the world’s collective experience of the last few weeks has been the sudden realization that companies have been utilizing vast amounts of resources which fall into the “nice to have” category and not necessarily in the “need to have” area.
Utilization of human resources is usually the first thing that most organizations consider – and such utilization can be understood by undertaking exercises in workload analysis, time and motion studies, automation studies etc.
However, there are other resources such as office space, vehicles, warehouses and such which at times get ignored. Such resources also come with accompanying cost elements such as manpower, maintenance, utilities and fuel – and all of these over a period tend to result in cost creep.
Once we win over the pandemic, the next real crisis would be putting the pieces together and re-shaping the future. We can capture the opportunity to invest in the real growth pillars and not the ones that belong to the “nice to have” category.
How can businesses be equipped for ‘black swan’ events?
In risk management, we often come across the term “black swan”. A black swan is an unforeseen occurrence that goes beyond what is often anticipated in a situation and might have very negative impacts.
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