Today, the whole of humanity is passing through an unprecedented event — the pandemic, COVID-19. The effect of COVD-19 has not only been seen in the periphery of health but affected all aspects of life, including economics and businesses.
The manufacturing and related supply chains have the most challenging aspect to deal with, that is how to keep manufacturing as productive as it had been before COVID-19. The key element of any manufacturing has been ‘the people’ and how they connect in the workplace closely to bring about teamwork, which enables the efficient & profitable cycle of value addition.
One of the worst ill effects of COVID-19 is the isolation part of it, which humans must keep with each other, so that the spread of the coronavirus can be controlled, which contradicts the very fundamentals of efficient and effective manufacturing. Now, businesses have started opening up again and we need to learn to remain even more productive and that too, without compromising on any safety guidelines.
Restarting businesses post-COVID is more than a business challenge; rather, it’s a real test of leadership. The four aspects of leadership, that are always important and will become critical for the post-COVID-19 business success and more so, in the manufacturing space, are –
360°communication: The whole environment is so uncertain that all, from investors to customers, are extremely anxious and that anxiety can only be addressed through a 360° communication, so that it does not create a situation where decisions are either made in panic or it creates decision paralysis – both of which can create a long-term effect on business prospects and viability.
Meticulous planning: While we are restarting our businesses, our planning should be impeccable, since we have resources which are limited, uncertain supplies, customer demand not being granted and working capital also being constrained. So, only meticulous planning can improve our efficiency and deliver good productivity & profits.
Constant customer connects: While each business is passing through a similar, uncertain environment, it becomes of utmost importance that we keep a connect with our customer, so that we always know what’s the real demand and how we can use limited resource to cater to the actual demand, rather than making something which is not the immediate requirement or not a requirement anymore.
Preparedness to deal with intermittent disruptions: Although we have started reopening businesses after the lockdown in several parts of the world, there is no surety or defined path of dealing with COVID-19 and that can bring disruptions to any business at any point of time. So, while we are trying to bring the business cycle back, we should, in parallel, prepare ourselves to deal with intermittent disruptions and rebound again and again.
As leaders, we need to take control of the situation rather than the situation taking control of us, and that’s the only way to look ahead.