What our country and most parts of the world are currently experiencing is something unprecedented. The ongoing COVID-19, which WHO has just declared a pandemic, is not an issue that concerns only a specific sector but is already having an adverse effect across all strata of our lives.
Indeed, it is a surreal scenario which no one could have ever predicted. Yet, here we are today, coming to terms with a reality that we all have to face. All economic agents are and will be affected in the coming months by this adversity, thus the sense of solidarity, understanding and most of all perseverance need to prevail.
In times of crisis, communication remains vital, and this is what spurred us to communicate with you the following important points that should help you start preparing your business to minimise as much as possible the impact that this saga might cause to your operations.
Protect employees and show them that you are doing so. More than ever, your people have to come first, so follow the most conservative guidelines available from leading global and local health authorities such as CDC and WHO as well as the local health authorities. Take nothing for granted and keep communicating with your people.
Strengthen company structure by setting up an internal cross-functional response team. This process should be led by the CEO and composed of dedicated and the most trusted people across the company’s management catering for separate workstreams dealing with employees, financial stress-testing and contingency plan, supply chain, marketing and sales and other relevant business areas. Reduce goals and targets to shorter terms while ensuring simple, but well-managed operations and discipline focused on decisive output.
Test for stress, ensure liquidity and build a contingency plan. Define scenarios that are tailor made to the company, draft an operation plan and identify variables that will affect revenue and cost. For each scenario, define variables through analytics and expert input, model cash flow, P&L and balance sheet in each scenario; identify input variable triggers that could drive significant liquidity events).
Stabilise the supply chain. Define the extent and timing of exposure to areas that are experiencing community transmission. Efforts towards immediate stabilisation should see you ration critical parts, optimising alternatives and using aftersales stock as bridge, increasing priority in supplier production and supporting supplier restart.
For medium to longer-term stabilisation, updated demand planning and optimise your network, accelerate qualification for alternative suppliers and drive resilience through your supply chain.
Stay close to customers and clients. Immediate stabilisation will require inventory planning, near-term pricing changes and discounts while medium and long-term stabilisation will require investment and microtargeting for priority segments with long-term growth.
Practice plan with the top team through in-depth tabletop exercise through a defined activation protocol for different phases of response through contingency
planning only and full-scale response. More importantly, identify the key decision owner, roles for each top team member and the investment needed for execution.
Demonstrate purpose. Although understandably, your business will remain your prime focus and concern, this should be an opportunity to show leadership and incisiveness with all your stakeholders. We are in this together so encourage support to national efforts and along with your employees, foster unity and mutual understanding.
We encourage you to remain in touch with us.
Together we shall weather this storm.
Mark, Tonio, James, Andrew, Anthony
And all the team at NOUV