Written By: Dan Diaz with Wes Jacobs
The COVID-19 pandemic has created worldwide uncertainty, as well as drastic changes to social behavior and buying habits. Many businesses that produce certain aspects of end-user consumption or discretional spending have seen sharp decreases in demand. Eventually, we will turn the corner and move back to more traditional buying habits and production levels. In the meantime, savvy business leaders should prepare a plan to ramp up production and response for when this pandemic situation changes.
Even though many businesses are familiar with operating under a bit of uncertainty during regular periods, this current pandemic situation is prompting business leaders to take a more deliberate look at future plans so that the hopes of survival are, at the very least, more defined. Here are a few topics to consider in the process of making recovery plans during this historical time.
- Let your customers know that your company is back and ramping up. Come up with a standardized mantra that communicates your company is capable and willing to address demand with an air of confidence, and assure them that quality and performance will be the focus.
- Communicate with your customers to assess the backlog and future demand as your business gets back online.
- If your forecasting analysis shows a slower than expected recovery due to depressed demand, many companies are choosing to lower production levels and reduce resources to lessen the financial loss. However, it is essential not to cut down too much.
- Take customer service to the next level. You may find that in a time like this, the company that is more communicative, empathic, and shows a passion for addressing the needs of the customer, may not only spring back quicker but may also win market share in a competitive market.
- Business leaders will also want to evaluate and update remote work or work from home policies. Since the path back to normalcy may be a drawn-out process, you may consider a plan to transition departments in a staggered approach based on the necessity to be on-site and the value of face-to-face interaction.
- The COVID-19 issue has heightened viral awareness to an unprecedented level. In the case where the services or products you provide may be susceptible to contamination, establish revised, well-written mitigation policies so that your customers feel assured that risks are being addressed.
- Buckle down and evaluate the need for non-essential expenses for the short term. A couple of examples of areas to focus on are company travel costs and flashy promotional campaigns that may not yield quick returns.
- Be aware that certain degrees of current buying trends and lifestyle changes may be the new normal. Investigate what your target audience responds to and if there are any trends toward new marketing approaches.
- If your company is in a desirable cash-positive position, look for ways to make the most of this situation. Are there struggling competitors that can be evaluated for possible purchase? Are there machines, facilities, or resources that can be obtained that will help your company move to the next level?
- Manage your cash flow. Cash flow is critical for companies needing to stay competitive.
Effective use of a modern ERP system, such as Infor’s CloudSuite Industrial (CSI), is critical for monitoring, forecasting, evaluating, and reacting to market trends. Such a comprehensive, well-integrated ERP system will also help manage your production, quality, performance, and costs. Key CSI features for ramping up aftermarket down-turn due to the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- Accurate Financial, Plan, and Budget Reporting
- Customer Relationship Management functionality
- Discounts and Promotional pricing for specific groups, markets, or end-user types
- Raw Material, Work-In-Process, Sub-Assembly, and Finished Goods Inventory Reporting
- Cash Management and Forecasting (Cash Impact Report, Cash Receipts Due Report, and Cash Requirements Report)
- Quality Control System for managing customer’s expectations, vendor performance, and internal in-process QC
- Paid Employee Leave tracking under the CARES Act (requires CSI Payroll)
Some say this global crisis will leave a lasting, and perhaps permanent change, to varying degrees, how we work, where we gather, how we learn, and where we travel, to name a few. Keep in mind that where there is change, there is an opportunity.
An experienced ERP Consulting Firm can help identify opportunities and assist with the best use of the investment in your ERP system, including reporting and managing your response to COVID-19. Decision Resources has been helping manufacturers get the most from their business systems and technology for over 40 years. We’re here for you during this time. Leverage our ERP Consulting expertise to help you work through and recover during this unprecedented era of COVID-19. Contact us anytime.