Corporate Management and Investors cannot use the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 (and its subsequent disorder) as an excuse that caused a devastating impact on both domestic and international trade, economies, as well as humanity. Rather, it should instead be taken as an impetus for designing future ready business models and corresponding econometrics.
The Covid-19 Pandemic, in the mind of a strategist, should in fact trigger three images & scenarios:
- Lessons learnt from 2020 – Covid-19 Pandemic
- Realization of Inadequacies of Political Promises and Vaccinations
- Getting ready for a New World Order amid Continuing Disorders
I. Lessons learnt from 2020 – Covid-19 Pandemic
- Desktop jobs are not indispensable and can in fact be managed from remote locations, and with less staff/workforce than pre-Pandemic period.
- There can be significant savings in costs of doing business by minimizing Office Space, saving in utilities, daily commuting, and manhours-based (Office timings) operations.
- Physical in-person meetings and events are now replaced by internet-based technologically enabled virtual meetings (i/e : Zoom); which has the same level of productivity as physical meetings, if not more.
- International travel for conferences, meetings and cultural events is non-essential.
- Hotels and tourist accommodations are no longer viable business models.
- Investment in Office Buildings, Commercial Complexes and Business Districts will decline.
- Production processes, manufacturing plants, labour intensive industries and supply chain management functions will need digitization and renewed security with highly sophisticated risk management.
II. Realization of Inadequacies of Political Promises and Vaccinations
- Businesses cannot be managed by relying on promises of short-term lockouts/lockdowns, MCOs, CMCOs, Circuit Breakers, Return to Normal during Summertime or Easter; and any other similar assurance(s) are nothing but moving targets, till some businesses get liquidated, some quarantined indefinitely and some living on resuscitators permanently.
- Vaccinations against Covid-19 cannot guarantee immunity against new epidemics and pending pandemics. Therefore, any hope of normalcy after vaccination in 2021, or even till 2022 cannot guarantee a real return to normalcy.
- Be prepared for every unknown virus to become a new threat. Pestilence and warfare are going to come, only difference of opinion is on timing and intensity.
- Political disruptions are on the rise either on the grounds of elections fraud, military coups or human rights violation.
- Trade barriers, protectionism, tariffs and sanctions will be the norm of life. Strategists should take due stock of such phenomenon.
III. Getting Ready for a New World Order amid Continuing Disorders
In view of the Lessons learnt (I) and Ongoing False Hope and Rumours of Warfare (II), the Year 2021 is the most crucial time for business owners, investors, employers, strategists, analysts and government policy planners to get back to the design-boards and chalk out the future.
Important Consideration for Future Planning – Beyond 2021
- The planning horizon should be based on three yearly intervals – to be reviewed and renewed after every three years.
- Investments in long-term projects beyond three years – unless it is government backed and with financial stocks- should be broken down into phased approaches, with each phase capable of surviving on its own or with feasibility for salvaging.
- Management and admin functions to be designed with 90% remote operations and 10% from a physical location.
- Invest continually in securing internet accessibility, bandwidth, and alternatives through Satellite Communications.
- Employment Contacts will need to be redesigned based on work scope, deliverables, and responsibilities, instead of monthly fixed and variable payroll models.
- Adaptability as Employees and multi-skill capabilities will be crucial to stay employed. Self-investment into home networks, home office, and conferencing equipment will be an essential feature of securing employment or being self-employed.
- Enterprise Risk Management Models of the past decade will require retuning to incorporate risks of unknown as real risks, so as to develop appropriate mitigation strategies and Business Continuity Planning.
- Securing alternative sources of energy for production plants, factories, work sites, heavy machinery and material handling equipment is in immediate need.
- Modes of Transportation and logistics management with satellite warehousing, inventory controls instead of JIT policies may have to be adopted.
- Securing payments and credit worthiness policies of the past will not be relevant to the future. It is time to develop new Contracting Strategies and Contract Documents.
The above is not a comprehensive or an exhaustive list of items for strategic planning, but just a thought for the day! One will have to develop their own barometers of economy in context of their business and be prepared to continuously realign with changing contexts.
Remember Change is Every day, Tomorrows do not remember Yesterdays!