Business Recovery and Continuity in the COVID-Adjusted World

Business Recovery and Continuity in the COVID-Adjusted World

The challenge being posed by COVID-19 and the repercussions it’s creating, has continued to impact global stakeholders significantly. Societies, irrespective of geopolitical differences have suffered significant losses, emotionally and economically. It is a crisis that has profound implications for companies globally. From the complete or partial shutdown of factories, to supply chain disruptions, to labour shortages to cash flow stress, companies are feeling the business and financial shock of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, effective interventions are starting to show promising outcomes.
Impact on sectors and business depends on intensity and shape of the health and economic recovery, especially in an extended fight phase

To prudently navigate the COVID-19 crisis, particularly putting into foresight, the possibility of an extended ‘fight’ against the virus, the phase requires integrated action by governments and business leaders

Companies have to be predictive and proactive in their decisionmaking to ensure continuity and build resilience.The initial response to the immediate response mechanism of the pandemic needs to evolve into business continuity strategies. Innovative intervention mechanisms are required to ensure compliance to existing protocols of social distancing, restricted services, hygiene etc. while embracing newfound opportunities and avenues to ensure growth.


An integrated perspective on health/medical progression, governmental responses, societal reactions, and economic implications is required to asses the conditions effectively.

An integrated perspective: Navigating the COVID crisis

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the global productbased systems have been challenged by factory shutdowns, demand surges for essential goods, stockpiling and panic-buying, along with shifting consumer preferences (e.g. online over physical). This has raised new and unprecedented questions on the level of resilience of global value chains and the overall approach to manufacturing.


Adjusting and overcoming these disruptions require new forms of collaboration across companies and industries to ensure business continuity while protecting employees and improving resilience of delivery channels for the future.

 

As global value chains have traditionally been optimized for costcompetitiveness reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic proves that companies need to reorient towards new approaches, which are prone to risk competitiveness. Additionally, they need to build new strategies in collaboration with governments to be able to adapt and respond to future shocks.


The lessons that the implications of COVID-19 has made the business communities realize are about having an integrated perspective in overcoming a crisis through a phased approach.

 

Three phases that  ncompass the society’s navigation of the fallout caused by this pandemic are: control, contain and carry on.

The initial phase after a pandemic outbreak is control, where the goal is to urgently limit number of confirmed cases, especially critical care, social distancing and partial business closures outside a few, lead to economic recession with large employment impact. This entails the control phase.

 

In the second phase, where the global businesses are moving towards at this point in time is contain, where businesses are finding paths to collectively fight the virus, restart the economy, and support society in balancing lives and livelihood. Moderate economic activity,
some business reopening and social distancing at a sustainable level are key observations on the existent scenario. The world is transitioning towards phase 2 of containment currently.


The third phase of carrying on would be dependant on several aspects including vaccine/ anti-body development along with effective stimulus provided at the Governmental level. Disease controlled through vaccine/cure/ herd immunity and treatment within sustainable medical capacities possible. Reactivated economy withtrong business rebound and job growth, social restrictions limited or completely suspended. The transition delay from phase 2 to phase 3 will have to be carefully evaluated based on the factors mentioned above.

 

The critical factors for effective progression towards phase 3 are institutional capabilities in disease progression, health care system capacity, and response; Government policies and economic stimulus; business & public engagement and response.

Key aspects that will structure the economic outcomes during and post the pandemic crisis

Being prepared for post-pandemic recovery

Businesses can consider the phased approach of control, contain and carry on as analogous to short-term, medium term and long term outlook to recognize and address topics that are upsetting their current business model. There is a requirement for them to advance long haul strategies with plans of action cultivating virtual collaborations across the value chain, a lean and coordinated technological intervention modules and to create enterprises with
digital flexibility and cyber resilience.

 

For every business, the key strategic priority to navigate the crisis would be effective workforce management, with a people first mentality. An impactful workforce transformation plan that aims to create a highly adaptive disruptor culture capable of adapting to constant change enabled through communication across all levels through virtual platforms, employee assistance programs and leveraging the opportunity to re-skill and up-skill the team will be crucial in future-proofing the work force.


Product development and distribution will adopt a new normal of customer preferences amidst protocols of social distancing, work from home, accessing data online, cancellation of large events and general business losses. Redesigning business models and distribution channels should be aligned to customer needs as well as impact of external environment. Product innovation will come to the fore replacing the traditional long-term product life-cycle strategy.

 

Product distribution strategies will also have to factor in its approach to enable virtual and contactless sales. Businesses will have to leverage the growing customer awareness and the accelerated rate of digital adoption.

 

Capitalizing on technology for process excellence will be the pillar of strength amidst restricted access to physical contact. This is where processes can be strengthened to ensure digital interaction is a strength for the business through seamless digital servicing capabilities and encouraging self-service through an easy customer user interface for service queries and retain brand loyalty and customer satisfaction through an agile customer relationship management system with intelligent automation. Heavy investment in technology and process automation will be value-driven investments for business recovery and continuity.


Risk management will be crucial as businesses get ready to recover from the fallout caused by the pandemic. With additional reliance on technology interfaces, the cyber risks associated with it also emerge. Challenges to data security and privacy looms large. A strong information security policy and architecture will help overcome this risk, in addition to ramping up organizational security. To tackle regulatory risks, Government authorities should be reached
out through proper channels, to ensure business stimulus packages and to avoid non-compliance as well as delays in financial disclosures. It is the ideal time for business owners and entrepreneurs to learn from the crisis and develop a strong business model.

Sentimental analysis backed sectoral outlook

Rebooting the economy: The Indian perspective

The Prime Minister has announced the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” economic stimulus package to the tune of INR 20 Lakh Crores, effectively setting aside 10% of the Country’s GDP to reboot the Country’s demand-consumption ratio with focus on the 5 Pillars Of India’s Self-Reliance with an economy with potential for quantum jump, infrastructure, tech-driven system, demography and demand based intelligence-driven supply system. The strategy of the economic reboot will have to be driven by promoting local products facilitated by significant reforms around land, revenue and ease of doing business.


According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), many economies may face negative per capita income growth in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In its recent forecast, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) indicated a clear fall in world trade between 13 per cent and 32 per cent in 2020, considerably the highest fall since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The IMF has also reduced growth forecast for the Indian economy, projecting a GDP growth of 1.9 per cent in 2020. In its recent World Economic Outlook, the IMF does project a rebound in the growth of the Indian economy in 2021, at a rate of 7.4 per cent. This is reassuring data that brings hope.


Although India has been successful till date in containing the spread of the virus, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal economic activity and life in the country. India’s trade has been severely disrupted. Currently, businesses are very vulnerable to the unfolding economic crisis. People have been facing a sudden loss in their incomes, causing a major drop in demand. To rescue the economy, India has announced a range of fiscal and monetary stimulus packages. The major aim of this stimulus is similar to the conventional Keynesian prescription of ‘pump-priming’, whereby
income transfers to people having higher marginal propensity to spend can boost up the declining demand.

 

In driving the country’s economic recovery, the key directions at the Governmental level entail global and regional cooperation, structural reforms across sectors aided by fiscal and monetary stimulus. People at the moment are locked in homes, and hence, are unable to spend or earn. First and foremost step towards the reboot is to restore confidence in the economic system and the governance. Improved and coordinated responses from
stakeholders are critical at this point.

 

The country needs to continue with the fiscal stimulus packages for sometime at least till the economy rebounds. Labour-intensive sectors require focus. India will have to route the incentives to better support agriculture, MSMEs, logistics and transportation, exports and imports, health etc. Here, international cooperation may help countries to minimise the overlaps by sharing information, encourage smart implementation and avoid the pro-cyclical stimulus impacted by market fluctuations. Promoting smart implementation of packages may generate higher dividends to the economy.

Prospective strategies for India towards the goal of self-reliance and geopolitical cooperation

Conclusion

Structural reforms are inevitable at this point. Higher spending in food security, fighting poverty, technology and innovation, strengthening international trade, nutrition and livelihoods, public health and capital flow, smart and green logistics, enhancing the quality of human capital and education standards, strengthening institutions and governance needs to be areas of focus.


Countries have to invest more in healthcare, both management and facilities. New social and behavioural norms – “social distancing”, “wearing masks”, “maintaining hygiene”, etc., are the new normal, and we have to adjust with such new norms amid the pandemic. India has an important role to play in the post Covid-19 world, and it is immensely useful for the country to stay engaged in such global discussions. While there are substantial challenges and concerns, India must resist the temptation for quick fixes that do not address
the underlying concerns and avoid permanent solution. Structural reforms are must and should continue to focus on strengthening the country’s economic fundamentals—only then can they contribute meaningfully towards a more robust and resilient Indian economy.


But, the concerted action by the countries in the world will surely turn the tide. India has great opportunities in this context, especially looking at the composition of global value chains in the world trade. Overall, COVID-19 has brought untold misery to a large section of low income individuals across the globe. The uncertainty about future looms heavily in the mind of both consumers and producers.

The MSME sector, especially in our competitive engineering goods manufacturing, provides great prospects for employment and growth in the economy. The need of the hour is to carefully chalk out plans for the future resurgence of economic activity in the nation.


For the next few months, management of the economy and the management of public health need to go hand in hand. While India needs to learn from other countries, at the same time, it has substantial scope for learning from within India. In the management of the Corona crisis, it also depended on how state governments managed the crisis. Similar approach is needed for management of the economy as well. Strategies cannot be fixed for the entire country for all times to come. They need to be dynamic and flexible. States need to be empowered, be it through allowing them to go for fiscal expansion or deciding on the level of restrictions that they would like to impose in different areas or the exemptions that might be allowed. The Centre needs to support them with information and technical advice, logistics, material support, and financial assistance.


However, the Centre needs to be more concerned about the exports as the failure to revive it quickly can have serious long-term impacts. A comprehensive strategy addressing the impact of the current crisis may put the Indian economy back on a sustained growth path and strengthen the country’s trade and foreign policy.


The need of the hour therefore, is to evolve new and innovative mechanisms to overcome the economic hardships caused by the pandemic.

Cushioning the COVID impact on our clients: Consocia’s value driven services providing dynamic solutions

As COVID-19 grew into a global crisis, Consocia realized the need to support industry colleagues in dealing with the biggest challenge faced ever in recent times that of business continuity. In response to the situation, we were swift in curating an in-house crack team comprising experts in research and insights; stakeholder database generation; content; government relations and public policy.


Consocia Advisory engaged Central and State Governments besides many Districts through strategic narrative backed by data to highlight the need of the hour in the fight against the deadly pandemic. We urged immediate orders to restore Client’s ability to manufacture, warehouse, transport and distribute the client’s essential products across the country.


Presently, Consocia is working with several enterprises for business continuity as well as crisis management. In the last few weeks, we have helped opening of plants and warehouses of the Indian entity of a global disinfectant company in 6 states including in Red zones as well as
Containment areas, besides that of a renowned lighting solutions company in two states (Haryana and Karnataka) already while they are now looking for our assistance in three more states.


Within a few days of being on-boarded, through our 24×7 support, we were able to secure not only policy interventions for manufacturing but also for warehousing, logistics and distribution as well as access to staff & workers. In the process, we were able to assure the Central and State Government stakeholders that all due precautions are being taken to prevent and contain COVID 19. We even helped with internal SOPs for transportation and staff movement.


We are helping the apex body representing the Shopping Malls across India against the debilitating impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on them. On behalf of SCAI, Consocia has crafted several interventions to draw the attention of the stakeholders and policy-makers on the plight of the industry and reinforcing reasons for Malls to be considered for resuming operations in a staggered manner, for the post-lockdown phase. At the same time, Consocia is working with the empowered Group of Ministers and Committees for COVID-19 response as well as the RBI seeking urgent financial stimulus for the sector and amplifying the initiatives through media engagement from time to time.


The upcoming editions of the dynamics of business transformation white paper series will focus on specific industries with strategies and outcome driven solutions to positively impact business outlook for business recovery and continuity in the COVID-adjusted world.


COVID-19 is a long battle for the industry. As your trusted well-wisher, our team is available to support you during these uncertain times in the areas of business continuity planning, public affairs, public policy and government relations. Contact us: reachus@consociaadvisory.com

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp