Have you had a chance to sit back and think about how the pandemic has changed your long term business goals? Although we are still not out of the woods yet, now may be a good time to think about revising your strategic plan to account for the recent disruption.
Who would have thought that only a few months into the year 2020, we would all be living through another life-altering crisis? Like previous major crises, they are unwelcomed and unwanted. As we are in the trenches of this current experience, we must remain united and look ahead to a new world that will forever be impacted.
It’s 2020 - a year we will never forget. The Coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in its economic and social impacts. We’ve seen nothing like it and hope to never see it again. And now that we are in this and expecting to soon get on the other side of this, many questions surround what the new normal is going to look like.
A lot has changed over the past few weeks (I know – I sound like Captain Obvious) and the ripple effects of this crisis are yet to come. We are all entrepreneurs again.
What will your business look like in 3 or 6 months? How about in 2021? How will we prepare our teams and leaders appropriately? The questions go on and on, and while the unknown answers are unnerving, there are some constants that we can lean on for guidance as we work together to create our new norm.
In Richard Koch’s 1998 book, The 80/20 Principle, he makes a rather stark statement reflecting on the events of today. “The tipping point is ‘the point at which an ordinary and stable phenomenon – such as a low-level flu outbreak – can turn into a public-health crisis’, because of the number of people who are infected and can therefore infect others. Since the behavior of epidemics is non-linear and they don’t behave in the way we expect, ‘small changes – like bringing the number of new infections down – can have huge effects… It all depends when and how the changes are made.”
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward.
Maintaining adequate cash flow is a major factor when operating a healthy business in times of growth and prosperity. During tough times it takes on an amplified role. The fundamentals of collecting on receivables, reducing expenses, reducing inventory investment, and the like are still in play, but these and different strategies need to be examined in difficult economic times.
In March of 2020 business as we knew it changed, probably forever. The question is, what are we going to do about it? There are several options available; do nothing different, run and hide, or seize this as the opportunity that it is and become better. I recommend the latter. A key to becoming better is to determine how to differentiate your company from your competition.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis that came upon us just a few short months ago, now more than ever, manufacturers need to develop and implement an effective business continuity plan if they have not already done so. While many companies who are ISO9001:2015 registered are required to identify risks and opportunities, as well to develop a response plan and integrate the response into their quality management system; this level of planning is wholly inadequate to support their needs under our current situation. This is because ISO9001 asks a company to identify “what they will do IF something happens”, but now companies need to have a comprehensive plan to manage the business through the crisis now that it HAS happened.