The COVID-19 crisis is a situation in which none of us has been before. And it calls for new procedures and behaviour patterns in order to get back to our daily work. Which begs the question, how to make your business crisis-proof?
Juhan-Madis Pukk, a board member of the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications will give a virtual talk about practical examples of how the Estonian industry has changed during the COVID-19 crisis. He’ll focus on the topic of what could the public and private sectors do in cooperation across different fields to accelerate the economic recovery and seek for crisis-proof business operation.
There has been a lot of talk about the need for digitalization and automation of industries. For years we have believed that we still have time however, the current crisis has made adaptability a matter of survival.
In fact, both international and national studies have been published, which show that the share of machine work within production will increase by almost 50% in the coming years.
Still, most companies have yet to start the process of making their companies crisis-proof. For which the only option is to start digitalising our processes.
Finding new customers is crucial
Through the years, I have seen dozens of production companies from different fields. Based on this, I can point out the following aspects they all have in common:
- They are dependent on a small number of key customers;
- Their processes are tailored to serve those customers and efficiency is more oriented on production;
- They are lacking procedural and technical ability to quickly find and serve new customers.
For most companies, the biggest risk is that they don’t actively seek new markets and clients, and instead are dependent on a small number of existing clients. There are no processes in place to support any of this.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are now in a situation in which those companies want to shorten their supply chains and start ordering components from nearby. But most of the companies have insufficient preparation for such a situation.
There is a lot of talk about digitisation and process automation. But most people only think about the obvious – installing industrial robots as well as production and working time counting systems.
That’s where I would suggest instead to analyze the office work. For example, think about the following questions:
- How to build your sales and customer communication processes to meet modern needs?
- How well can a potential partner find the necessary information on your website? A website is a company’s business card and if it doesn’t impress the person in the first ten seconds, the potential deal is gone.
By the way, it is possible to add a tool to the website, which allows you to see who’s visited it – this way you can get in touch with the interested clients afterwards.
It is equally important to quickly answer the incoming requests.
Again, start by analyzing your current offer process and think about the processes which could be automated.
The Pareto 80:20 principle also applies here, so if the machine does 80% of the work, the person is left with the 20%, which can be the most important and determining work.
Review the IT systems in use and make the most of them. Ideally, an automated offer would be sent out within 10 minutes.
But this requires proper planning. And now is the right time to review the production chain’s inputs and outputs so that offers would have adequate delivery times.
Let’s learn from the experiences of others
As they say, there’s something good in every crisis.
Let’s take care of our people, let’s cooperate between different sectors, and let’s discuss how we can support each other.
Let’s start by thinking about how to use the experience of logistics professionals to automate in-house logistics, or how to sell products better using e-commerce platforms, or how to combine industry needs with smart urban planning, etc.