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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Covid-19 a wake-up call for business leaders: expert

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HCMC – While the Covid-19 pandemic is disruptive for most organizations and businesses across Vietnam, with a vast majority of business owners reporting drastic declines in sales over the past several weeks, an expert with an international university said the current crisis can serve as a wake-up call for business leaders.

Some businesses experienced a total shutdown, such as hotels, bars and restaurants, while others have faced supply chain issues and decreased demand, like the textile industry and retail sector.

“This external shock can be the ideal moment to review current business processes, such as hiring and workforce practices, supply and distribution chains, product development, and financial operations and strategies,” said Dr Burkhard Schrage, School of Business & Management Program Manager at RMIT University Vietnam.

A revamp of these processes will also be required by the digital revolution, often touted as a quintessential ingredient to get ahead in the global marketplace. A careful implementation of new processes can also make businesses more competitive in the long run.

“Now’s the time to get your company ready for the future, and perhaps the pandemic may be a ‘blessing in disguise’ to help companies sustainably compete in Vietnam and internationally,” Dr Schrage said.

He highlighted some important recommendations from recent research by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which focuses on why some businesses manage a crisis better than others, and come out of it in better shape than their competitors.

Businesses should address the immediate challenges, such as how to protect employees and manage the transition to a remote, decentralized workforce; and address the near-term cash and supply chain challenges, as well as identify other key threats in order to plan for different scenarios.

They need to create a detailed plan of post-crisis actions. While it is not possible to know the length of the crisis, businesses should be ready when the end is in sight.

According to the research, the world will be different after the crisis as consumers will value different features in products, competitors will compete differently, and supply chains will be configured unlike yesterday. McKinsey & Company called this the “next normal”. The key is to adapt the business quickly to this new world that emerges.

“In challenging times, businesses with disciplined leadership, high empathy for their employees and fast execution skills will come out ahead once the sun rises again. We still don’t know what the ‘next normal’ will look like. But we know it’s going to be more digital, more agile, more resilient and with a more flexible workforce,” Dr Schrage said.

He concluded that business leaders will have to create a vision of the post-pandemic world and draft strategies to achieve this vision.

“Good execution, which needs to have the new rules of the game in mind, will ensure the sustainable success of your business.”

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