Continuity is a comfort, especially in times of crisis. Your customers depend on you to maintain not just your service, but also your standards. As such, no matter how your business changes, the show must go on.
It's a priority for any firm to meet customer demands effectively and efficiently. However, businesses are increasingly finding that doing so during a pandemic is particularly challenging.
Mitigatingrisks to business continuity is your primary concern during the outbreak. Issues and challenges need to be recognised and dealt with rapidly, including control of the cost base to create headroom.
Reactingin real time requires an understanding of the current situation in order to make decisions quickly. Management information must be accessible and accurate, and a rapid increase or decrease in demand makes forecasting, inventory and capital management critical.
Adaptingto the circumstances while trying to create a greater certainty of demand and supply in rapidly evolving market conditions is key, alongside adjusting the indirect cost base and support functions.
Actions to consider
Understand the potential impact of the pandemic by moving quickly to assess how your operations will be affected. The more you can foresee the unexpected, the more likely you will be ready to meet any challenge.
Don’t be afraid to make imperfect decisions to reduce the cost base and protect the business. Define the key decisions you have to make and ensure that you have the best management information you can to support them, but accept that not all your choices will turn out to have been the right ones once the pandemic is over. Focus effort primarily on rapid cost reduction and cash optimisation and management.
The current market conditions caused by the outbreak are temporary. Determine how you can come out of the Protect phase with pace and momentum so that you can maximise any opportunity available to you. Understand how your external markets may have changed and how you can bet respond to them.
Questions to ask
Do you have the right, timely MI to make critical decisions?
How volatile is customer demand and how flexible is your cost base?
Are you sufficiently prepared for shortages and price volatility for your resources to outlast the pandemic?
Does your network have the capacity for your whole team to work from home at the same time?
Are your communication channels sufficient and do your employees read and understand what you send them?
How can you take advantage of any changes in your market or opportunities within your Operating Model to reimagine your post COVID-19 business?
“Volatile times call for real-time understanding of where your business is at, the options available to it and the courage to take early action supported by clear and informed decision making.”