Covid19 – A chance for a new beginning

Covid19 – A chance for a new beginning

July 1, 2020


The global pandemic and the associated lockdown have left a negative mark on almost all companies: financially, staff-wise and operationally with interrupted supply chains.

The fight for survival was in the foreground. So how do you find your way out of the trough? A fundamental repositioning is often more effective than simply continuing with the business like before. This guide is intended to be a toolbox and provides tips on how to combine a successful restart with a genuine reformation of the company.

Initial situation & goals

To be prepared for the next crisis, important steps for the future should be taken during the reorganisation and restructuring. After all, it is usually not enough for a company to get back on its feet quickly if the next crash or political intervention causes the same problems. Therefore, the foundations for scenarios that would require an alternative business model and value chains should be thought through now. To this end, entrepreneurial freedom must be achieved by creating new networks and partnerships.

Procedure & Solutions

Start-up operations with improved performance

  • Is the financial framework still appropriate? Are equity, liquidity, and risk coverage suitable for the restart?
  • Are the existing contracts still valid and applicable? 
  • Is the staff sufficient in quantity and competence?
  • Where can the cooperation on the customer and supplier side be improved?
  • How can the daily business be started up in a controlled way? How can the supply and demand side be continuously monitored?

Integrate and empower employees at all levels

For the best result, everyone must pull together and use all (implicit) knowledge. A reformation of the company is a task for everyone.

  • Managers actively communicate new goals and approaches.
  • Employee behaviour and commitment are assessed during the crisis and specifically developed.
  • New ways of thinking are encouraged at all levels. 
  • Interdisciplinary teams are deployed and new ways of working are introduced (sprints etc.).

Review and sharpen vision for sustainable future security

Operational excellence is only successful if the sense behind the business is right. Therefore, a reformation should have a vision in mind.

  • What is the future purpose of the company in the changing environment?
  • How do we create benefits for our customers and what must the customer interaction look like? How can enthusiasm be generated? 
  • What are the critical success factors in a still volatile environment?
  • What must the renewal of the business logic look like, not only the use of technology but also the philosophy of the business model?

Reforming the business model

To make the existing better is a duty. The freestyle is to bring customer and supplier relationships to a new level and thus make the company more crisis-proof.

  • How can order processing and production be started up in phases in a cost-optimized way?
  • What is the path to multi-sourcing? 
  • How can the quality and efficiency of supply chains be increased?
  • Which parts of production can be brought back to Switzerland thanks to a high level of automation? 
  • How can innovative approaches such as Advanced Analytics, Blockchain, or IoT be applied in a targeted manner?
  • How can the added value for customers be increased thanks to a network, ecosystem, or platform approach?

Improve Agile Organization and Operational Excellence

A high degree of autonomy and agility in the provision of services significantly increases the crisis resistance of a company.

  • Largely automated and digitalized value chains from/to customers as well as from and to suppliers can be established.
  • Control instruments for increasing productivity such as the use of advanced analytics and data management can be developed and expanded. 
  • Teams of key personnel can be set up as flexible units along the value chain. 

Ensure implementation during ongoing operations

A regular exchange between the line and the project managers with clear decisions is the key to success. This requires good conditions:

  • A joint roadmap for parallel packages of measures (both ramp-up and reform) with milestones and dependencies.
  • Change management should be implemented in line with human resources management. 
  • Successes should be celebrated and the current status openly communicated. 

Benefits

Emerging stronger from the crisis

Instead of “just” surviving, most of the crisis should be made good: A one-off crisis is used as an opportunity to achieve sustainable profitable growth.

  • Simultaneous ramp-up and repositioning reduce the burden on employees. 
  • Improvement of future viability, as productivity across all processes, can be significantly increased and dependency on individual countries and suppliers can be sustainably reduced. 
  • Rapid focus on customer needs
  • Secured further development through committed employees

Conclusion 

No longer of the same, but a new look to secure the company!

Text written by: Hans Knöpfel, member of the advisory board Pactum AG