We live in an interconnected world and business want to expand as much as possible from local to global. I won’t get into much details or analysis regarding the trending subject of this period, which is the impact of COVID-19 on economy & business.
I would like to write my opinion on how businesses should look more into the readiness in times of potential crisis. A situation that might become a crisis should be seen from the beginning with a more focus on available information. An thus, through analysis of that information it can become real & practical numbers to understand what can be done.
I’ve first heard about the People – Process – Product model from the american investor & entrepreneur, Marcus Lemonis from NBC’s “The Profit”. It’s also available in Romania, at DigiLife (“De la faliment la profit”)
Starting from the three step approach to analysis a company from the strategic and operational point of view, here are a couple of questions to answer in order to further start a more in-depth discussion about business readiness inside a company.
- What is the culture of the organization?
- What is the usual response in times of crisis?
- How are the employees grouped by region, countries, cities, and what is the impact based on specific regional crisis impact?
- What real-time information do you have from your employees? How can you protect the ones affected by the crisis?
- How can you offer them support: financial, medical, psychological?
- How can you create support groups by region or cities in order to continue the formation of “communities” supported by the company even in times of negative impact?
- Do you have a direct line where employees can report their situation in times of crisis which will be taken into discussion by top management?
- Is the company ready to continue it is operation if employees are affected and cannot work? Which is the minimum number of employees by regions & groups needed in order for operation to not be affected?
- What is the plan for operations if the limit is reached?
- What additional methods can be offered to employees in order to continue work: online, offline sites, new work procedures, new working time, new locations, if possible?
- What is the current operational process in which the organization is functioning?
- What are the supply & distribution channels and are there any routes that might be impacted by the crisis?
- What is the inventory requirements in the next period?
- Did the company have discussions with suppliers in order to set in place back-up plans depending on different operational scenarios?
- Could the efficiency of the process be improved to reduce crisis risk?
- Are there any alternative supply channels or distribution channels?
- Could the technology used in the process be impacted by the crisis? If yes, what are the alternatives?
- Is the back-up process acceptable for stakeholders: clients, employees, suppliers?
- What is the impact of changes in the operational activity on costs which might further create a pressure on profitability and cash-flow?
- What are the risks for sales teams and which are the new operational directions: meetings, support for clients, reduce client withdrawals or product cancelations?
- What new training should the front-line managers have in order to increase motivation and response readiness of their teams? How can operational business readiness could be adapted to fit each teams?
- What type of new date could be centralized regarding the crisis to further adapt top-management decisions?
- What would the impact of the crisis be on pricing? How would this affect customers?
- Is there a communication plan in place for customers if prices increase?
- What products might be affected by the crisis and which could have higher demand? Is the company ready for these situations?
- How could new products be introduced to better match the new situation through adapted pricing & adapted functionality or characteristics?
Of course, depending on specific industry KPIs and specific requirements of each sector, further questions should be discussed by companies in order to increase business readiness.