Sir Winston Churchill is credited with first saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Since then the saying has been use by
many others. Earlier in my working carrier I had a Company Director that would use this line with Managers so regularly that it
became second nature for all of us to look at inherently negative situations in a positive light. We lost a big contract – What needs to be done so we don’t lose the next one?, Key individual is poached by a competitor – Why are we relying so much on one single person? Supplier can’t deliver material – why haven’t we identified a second supplier for these critical components? Regardless of the challenge, the immediate knee-jerk response was to shift into “What Next Mode”.
Necessity is the mother of invention
Before we jump in we want to acknowledge that we know all businesses have been impacted in someway by COVID-19. We are not downplaying the seriousness or longterm repercussions of this horrific pandemic, we are simply urging companies not retreat and wait for “business as usual” to return.
This is the time to be completely honest with ourselves as Business Owners, CEO’s and Managers. Were we doing everything as efficient and as sensible as we should have been? Have we taken the time to investigate processes and daily working routines? Let’s use this time as a way to break our inefficient daily activities.
This crisis has opened up opportunities is in the number of different areas, one major area is in sales departments. Traditionally speaking, many customers expected in person meetings, since the pandemic buyers and purchasers are now forced to take these meetings digitally. This opens up huge opportunities for sales teams. We can now have a meeting in Stockholm in the morning, one in Luleå before lunch and then off to Göteborg in the afternoon. Ultimately saving significantly on travel and accommodation expenses. Are we ready to take advantage of this shift in the sales world? Do we have the proper sales material to give pertinent information to the customer? Do our salespeople know how to integrate these new steps into their pipeline? Maybe most importantly, are we even talking internally about this or is it just business as usual?
When it comes to warehousing and purchasing. This is the time to do that exhaustive and often neglected investigation into vendor verifications and pricing. Have we optimised our inventory levels? Have we confirmed that material that used to be two day delivery, is still actually two day delivery? Have any of our suppliers changes their operating models? Are other suppliers discounting items in an attempt to free up some capital? Walk around your warehouses, all that material on those shelves represent tied up capital. These practices can not only help in the short-term but can also help set solid inventory and purchasing practices moving forward.
These new processes might take time to investigate and implement but now is the time. If we can show our customers a different way of working, we might be able to shape the next wave of “business as usual” in our favour. If done correctly, chances are those processes will continue long after social distancing requirements are gone. If we wait, we might miss the boat.
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
This is were we want to hear from you, how have you and your companies used this time? Has it been productive? Are you talking about “What Next” or waiting for the tides to change? Let us know.