The mood is one of cautious optimism. New Year's resolutions will take a backseat this time as businesses globally look to simply tame the ill-effects of the ongoing pandemic and hope to emerge more determined than before. The need to maintain business momentum has never been greater as companies continue to seek novel ways to continue operations amidst new lockdown measures. We do not expect to see highly transformative changes in the coming year; rather, the expectation is that business will continue at an optimum pace and there will be reasonable progress in all aspects of production and delivery. We are already seeing supply chains emerge stronger and deliver goods and services at a steady pace, if not any sooner. Technology has played an important part in enabling supply chains globally. We will continue to see further investments in the IT space, especially SaaS applications in the new year. While the general obligation for most companies in these times would be to keep operations running, here’s a general ‘to do’ list that should come in handy in your efforts to grow your business:
- Personal Health: the ensuing crisis should be compelling enough for you to re-evaluate your lifestyle choices. There’s enough literature on this topic and frankly, nothing that hasn’t been said already, especially in the past few months; but this, without doubt, should be your number one priority going into the new year.
- Retain your Existing Customers: they've placed their trust in your brand for this long; now it's time for you to make the extra effort to keep them happy in these uncertain times. If reaching out to customers is becoming difficult due to the lockdown measures, deploy an intelligent automation solution that will enable order processing even with limited personnel. The idea is to ensure order fulfillment in a time bound manner, at of course, reduced operating costs.
- Revisit Back-Office Operations: the general agreement among policymakers is that we will have to ‘live with the pandemic’ for sometime. But businesses cannot allow the periodic social restrictions to disrupt operations. The back-office holds the bulk of administrative tasks for any company. The aim, going into the new year, would be to strengthen the back-office to operate regardless of manpower and resource shortages. Again, a robust intelligent process automation solution will do the job for you.
- Ensure Liquidity: easier said than done, especially in these times, when everyone is facing a cash crunch situation. But ensuring timely receivables and budgeting for early payments is achievable if you have the right visibility into your working capital. Set up an integrated, end-to-end process automation solution that will help you connect to your vendors and buyers more efficiently, without worrying about time and place constraints. To understand why this is so important, have a look at how this multi-tools manufacturer achieved visibility and control over its business expenditures by simply setting up a tight integration between Artsyl’s powerful intelligent document process automation solution, which managed all incoming vendor invoices, and Microsoft Dynamics AX for complete financial management.
- Don’t Stop Hiring: don’t let the pandemic get the best of you! Going into the new year, it pays to look around for some solid talent! Many have polished their skill sets during the lockdown phase. This would, in fact, be the best time to hire candidates, someone who will review your business landscape with a fresh lens. A crisis can drain the energy out of even the best of the breed; but then again, a crisis is also when you’ll find hidden gems who know nothing better than to excel under pressure.
- Keep the Focus: long-term goals are essentially that, long-term! If you have charted a definite course for your company and planned your operations accordingly, then no amount of disruption should affect that routine. It always pays well to see the bigger picture — as the adage goes: this too shall pass! In business, you have to keep your eye on the ball, so if operational constraints are forcing you to be distracted, find a way to take care of those mundane duties. Again, automation helps mitigate a lot of the everyday work challenges and allows you to remain focused.
There are no sure shot ways to overcome this crisis and come out a winner. Everything takes time, but if you could bring about these changes to your organization in stages, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Happy New Year!