The world seems to have restarted. Covid-19 has given way to a possible global economic crisis, which is changing the way companies are run and will alter how they operate.
There is no easy way to say it, the next few months will be a challenge. Even for strong, well-capitalized, and managed companies, they will all have to work hard to stay relevant and continue in business. Some companies previously considered viable will fail, as many are facing a period of zero or little income, while others will adapt to the times, manage to transcend, and reposition themselves in the market.
From the storm, there is always learning.
If history can guide us, after the Great Depression or the 1929 Crisis, the theory of business management was completely transformed. Business theorists like Fritz Roethlisberger and Elton Mayo developed the “Human Relations Movement in managerial research.” Which offered a human and empathetic point of view towards business management, which before the crisis was focused on mechanical and dehumanized production.
Another more current example, the global financial crisis of 2008-10 led companies to move from permanent employment to more contract workers and led to the rise of the gig economy.
Every economic crisis in history has caused the breakdown of the world as we know it at the time. This global pandemic will not be the exception to rethink new models and systems that will set the course of action in all aspects of our lives.
How will the Covid-19 effect develop?
It is difficult to predict facing a constantly changing situation. What I am sure of is that companies will have to reorganize themselves with more fluid, flexible, and agile systems. This is how they can change and adapt to new ways of doing business.
The coronavirus has served as a catalyst and is imposing a new reality. The pandemic is a turning point that removes the old system from the scene, those who were under stress or who have not developed a culture of innovation are going to be left out of the game. Given this, not all is lost, but companies must react and regain the initiative to face what is yet to come. It is time for companies to open the door to social, economic, and technological projects that were already on the way, but now they are here to stay and settle in this new era.
Each organization will have to re-evaluate its systems, talent management, and Post-Covid consumer habits changes. Each person will question each of their daily choices and may not choose again the companies they were automatically loyal to. So, it is important to reconquer them and arouse interest. To do this, we need to ask ourselves if the services and products we offer are adequate for this new reality and if they continue to be sustainable both for the internal situation of the company and the market.
There is no magic recipe to solve and thrive in this new stage. But innovation is still the best adaptation alternative. We must dare to test new systems that make our value as a business profitable. This innovation should have ingredients of collaboration, empathy, openness to learning, organization, and adaptation. Thinking of new scenarios, changes, human groups that can help us create a new business vision.
These are confusing times; we can let ourselves be carried away by the turbulence and lose focus on trying to find solutions exclusively on the outside, from long-term scenarios. The strategic focus of the business coupled with the discipline of execution, are and will continue to be the key drivers to prosper at any time in history.
Technology after Covid-19
2020 promised to be a year where various developments would see the light of day and begin to enter the market, as the start of a new technological era. In the current situation, we can see how technology has played a leading role and this will continue firmly in the near future. The technological transformation will revolve around new business models where contact will be minimal. This derived from the impact that confinement will leave in our society, that will be perpetuated during the consecutive years.
Contactless business models.
This trend will be strongly present for business, products, and services development. The “spontaneous” solutions that we had to take before confinement, such as children’s home-schooling, will be improved and enhanced. Workspaces will move from long-term rentals to possibly coworking-like spaces. The services provided electronically will evolve to another level. A feature that will accompany all these new models is the possibility of adapting, with malleable and even chameleonic formats.
New technologies for a contactless world.
Automation will find more acceptance in the market, so investments will increase. The adoption and implementation of near-autonomous warehouses, robotics, drone delivery, and 3D manufacturing will accelerate. This, in turn, signifies the vital importance around cybersecurity, privacy, location and data study, in regulatory and effectiveness aspects.
The supply chain will be in the stage centre.
If anything has become clear in the current global situation, it is the dependence of our manufacturing industries on Asian suppliers, mainly from China. Companies have realized that they depend too much on a few suppliers and do not even know the touchpoints of their supply chain well enough, beyond the suppliers with whom they directly interact. Now, companies will delve deeper to assess their risks, diversifying their supplier base to reduce dependency on a few ones. Build more adjusted ecosystems to have more control, as well as planning to search for solutions with geographic proximity.
In this sense, 3D production will be a key element, everything we can produce in an automated way will be done. Any design of a new product must incorporate this vision, produce the maximum of components through 3D printing and with nearby suppliers. Especially if we talk about value-added products, it makes no sense to produce an expensive smartphone in China exposing ourselves to a rupture of the supply chain. Now we know that it can happen, that international trade can be blocked, we must act accordingly.
For many companies, business continuity will depend on the quality and viability of both their suppliers and their customers. For this, it will be necessary to reinvent the entire value chain. Transparency, security, and reliability will be the fundamental points to generate these new systems. Where technologies such as Blockchain can provide the ideal solution to make better use of resources, enhance the company’s know-how and contribute to the definitive digitization of business processes.
These are undoubtedly difficult times, where optimism towards the business future goes hand by hand with the purpose, mission, vision, and values. It is vital for all companies, regardless of the sector, to give direction, where work teams are part of the solution and that social responsibility is the strategic business axis for the individual and collective good.
We will return to work in a new reality. A drastically different environment for everyone: customers, employees, suppliers. Planning will allow us to be well prepared to tackle the challenges that arise at a good pace in the face of changing time. Let us seek to anticipate consumer concerns, address needs, and meet demands.
In this environment, it is essential to remember the essence for which as a company we exist and to build our route adding value and adapting to this new tomorrow, which, like life itself, will bring great experiences and responsibilities.
Thanks for providing such great info Ignasi! I feel COVID-19 has accelerated the change to digitalization. I believe that trend would continue even after the pandemic is over. Like you said, we are seeing drone deliveries. But their widespread implementation seems difficult.