For everyone, Covid-19 pandemic has triggered extraordinary circumstances. Governments, businesses and individuals have been forced to take dramatic measures, which have shuttered economic activity from all sides. Businesses have been compelled to adapt, organize and find alternative ways to run: to survive.

All of the above is common for every business; however business world is as diverse as life itself. Each will have experienced different set of challenges, and eventually, would evolve in a unique manner. The yardstick for a manufacturing operation, may not apply to a hospitality or a mom-and-pop type business. Here we look at a typical mid-size manufacturing type operation. How such operations have done so far? What type of best practices, have evolved through these challenging times? Any ideas for keeping these operations financially viable and fit in post Covid times?

Lockdown because of Covid-19 left a lot of manufacturing operations with little or no revenue, resulting in employee layoffs. Both federal and provincial governments have stepped in to control mass layoffs and supported businesses with various schemes. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is one such scheme, where the federal government has covered 75% of an employee’s salary (up to $847 per week). It has recently been extended till December. Government has also launched a work sharing program, which provides income support to employees who have reduced work week and are eligible for employment insurance benefits. Along with this, mortgage payments and tax filings have been deferred. All these benefits can be availed through Service Canada and CRA website.

Companies are recognising the volatility in the markets and conducting various scenario planning exercises, to understand financial and operational implications of the current events. Companies are doing their best to quantify and evaluate the effects of disruption on their supply chain. Some companies are also working on alternative sourcing strategies.

Companies are also re-assessing their value proposition and core competencies. Some companies are investing on enhancing their capabilities and building new products, while others are tightening an already elaborate product line, narrowing to focus on their core competencies. Both strategies have a proven track record; the path any company might choose depends on their current market offerings.

Effective Leadership should be able to recognize the current systemic vulnerability and take appropriate action to navigate through these unprecedented times. Current situation has also highlighted the interdependence of business health with individual health. To move forward in these trying circumstances, businesses should include the safety measures such as social distancing, proper sanitization and testing. Businesses should show generous empathy and effective leadership at all levels. Empathy will increase goodwill in teams, customers, vendors and all other stakeholders. It will instill confidence in the organizations core values. Businesses need to recognise current vulnerability, to create a safe and secure environment for all stakeholders to operate.   

By Fermos

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