COVID-19 CRISIS MANAGEMENT
Lock downs in EU and quarantines all around is new reality for upcoming weeks and most likely even long months. All this causes a lot of new challenges and questions for business. Literally this situation is very new for everyone.
My area of expertise is manufacturing companies, and I decided to share some ideas about how you can go through all this.
My advice to every manufacturing or strategic infrastructure company would be to start with forming internal anti-crisis operational group (in case you do not have such yet), I would suggest to involve all heads of departments in such group or/and most experienced people.
This group should be ready to take all necessary actions and take them really fast. They have to prepare for different possible scenarios.
So, some ideas to think about for your internal anti-crisis operational group are as below:
Work force and continuity of operations
Work force is core point about managing this crisis caused by Pandemic. Indicate minimal necessary staff for continuing operation in each department. If possible, split your staff in three groups. Try to manage that they would never cross with each other physically to protect them of transmission of disease internally.
Evaluate and implement procedures and actions to reduce the risk of internal epidemy and have the rules of human interaction. Also consider staggered shifts if it is possible.
Prepare clear policies and protocols of reporting illness, substitution procedure and travel restrictions.
Also to protect the work force and so continuity of operations, you should overthink and adopt the protocol for visitors to company sites and offices to minimise possible infection risk from external sides. React fast and update your protocols according to changing situation and new circumstances if needed.
You should also evaluate what can be outsourced in case this will be needed and who could be your potential outsource partner. Who are core individuals on whom critical processes depends and who could step into their position if needed.
For all employees working on site, in the office or at home should be clear communication policy and protocols. How will communication with and between employees be managed? Where all most up to date internal information can be found and how data is gathered?
Extremely important to establish trust of information. Communicate to your employees what actions are taken to make your business prepared for this crisis. As a Leader you should be source of truth. The same is valid for your customers and suppliers. Reliability and consistency of information is one of the key aspects that make your employees feel safe and being protected and your customers and suppliers to trust you and remain loyal.
You should make revision of whole supply system, starting with identifying most critical products/materials that have potential risks in supply delay due to changing situation in logistics or deficite because of production continuity problems etc. Here you should try to look deeper then usually even down to the global raw materials situation. Evaluate possible delays and prepare some stock if needed. Evaluate possible alternative suppliers or other options. Keep in mind that previous alternatives may not work.
Crisis like this will show if you have Finance Department or this is Accountants. It‘s especial time of collaboration between Finance, Commercial and Supply departments. Ask Managers to gather and continuously monitor information about your customers, ask them to update forecasts continuously and try to see the image of next 10-13 weeks.
This time can be not essentially bad as for some sectors it will bring also opportunities. You should form clear task to your financial team to indicate critical sensitivities for your business based on information provided by supply and commercial departments. Finance department should prepare and continuously update the scenario of impact to the whole and every part of your business.
You should know best and worst scenarios for your business during this crisis. Are you prepared for possible cases? What may and should be done? What is possible impact in long term perspective?
Commercial department should be able not only react during this time but also adopt to the situation and indicate possible new opportunities. As an example we can say that because of a huge demand of disinfection fluids a lot of alcohol producers found new product and market possibility. Airlines faces a huge impact to the industry, but taking into consideration changes in ground logistic changes caused by border controls may be air logistic could be the option, all this need new evaluations and analysis and for some companies this will be win win situation if they will manage to react fast and effectively. You should monitor what is on demand and be creative.
COVID-19 will be one of the main things impacting your business in nearest future, but that does not mean that it will be the only one while other threats disappeared or are on pause.
You should also remember that crisis, whenever it will end will not mean the end of it‘s impact to your business. Economy will need certain time for recovery. And recovery process success will depend on actions you will take today.