The Impact of a Global Pandemic on International Business and Marketing
While national governments are taking significant steps to tackle the coronavirus, companies are rapidly adapting to the changing needs of their employees, consumers and suppliers while addressing their financial and operational challenges.
With every industry, function, and region, not only in Australia, affected by the virus, the amount of potential change to consider can reach daunting proportions.
Impact on systems
COVID-19 is pushing companies to rapidly change the way they operate and putting the resilience of different systems to the test. Businesses are faced with a range of new system priorities and challenges – business continuity risks, sudden quantitative changes, real-time decision-making, productivity metrics, safety threats – and executives must act very quickly to address urgent system resilience issues while laying the groundwork for the future of their organisations.
Impact on experience
The global COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed our experience – consumer, professional, civil and just human – and it will certainly change our attitudes and behaviour. Once the immediate threat of the virus subsides, how will our thinking and behaviour change, and how will this affect the way we design, communicate, shape and manage the experiences people need and want?
The answers to these questions lie in the plane of how people and companies respond and find innovative solutions to survive these difficult times. In the consumer goods industry, the current crisis is fundamentally changing how and what consumers buy and accelerating, for example, the pace of global structural change in the industry.
Impact on operations
Due to perceived pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic, business processes in most industries are severely disrupted. For many multinational companies, globally managed, complex and core business services need to be redefined and redesigned. Organisations must respond quickly to change to ensure business continuity and protect and mitigate operational risks to keep their businesses running now and in the future.
Moving to a distributed model of global services can help large organisations across all industries – from oil and gas to communications and media – to mitigate enterprise risks. In addition, automating day-to-day tasks using various human-machine models, with everyone acting as an information worker, can also help keep the company running now and position it for growth after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
Now more than ever, organisations must focus on areas with good prospects after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impact on commercial activities
While direct-to-consumer or B2B organisations strive to meet their customers’ pressing needs, the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a new wave of commercial innovation. New patterns of purchasing behaviour are emerging and are likely to persist beyond the end of the crisis, opening up new opportunities. Those who viewed digital commerce as a secondary channel must now reorient their businesses with a focus on actively using digital technology in their businesses. For example, retailers are increasingly offering consumer services such as “contactless” or door-to-door delivery.
Impact on customers
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak calls for unprecedented agility from companies. This means that it is necessary to assess the effectiveness of using contact centres, providing employees with an appropriate level of customer service, their workplaces and possible options for using digital channels to support contact centres when the load increases.
During this time, leaders who can transition to new ways of working will help organisations reduce potential revenue losses, develop trust with employees, and prepare their business to resume growth after the pandemic dies down. Take, for example, banks, where social distancing constraints will push customers to use digital channels to get a particular service and thereby increase the need for a team of professionals who are constantly connected and able to quickly respond to changes.
Impact on the supply chain
The supply chain is more important than ever. Companies must ensure a fast, safe and uninterrupted supply of goods and services to both those at risk of infection and those working in the medical field, i.e. those at the forefront of the fight against the virus, such as biotech companies developing tests and treatments for COVID-19. While meeting these unprecedented demands, companies have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of their employees, supply chain organisations and the broader community in which they work, while maintaining the necessary flow of products and materials consumed.
Companies need to learn how to use digital technology and analytics to manage complex supply chains, identify ways to mitigate the impact of change, and quickly develop a tactical plan to deliver goods and services. The best freight companies in Australia can surely help them with this.
Impact on leadership
The greatest direct impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on humans. Organisations have focused on caring for their people and moving quickly to new forms of work.
At this critical juncture, leaders need to consider these changes, while not forgetting to build and maintain trust among their employees. The level of trust depends on the degree to which managers care for the community, for all staff in general, and for each employee in particular.
Be flexible: adapt to changing global and local conditions. For example, if you are a restaurant and due to quarantine, you had to temporarily close, then arrange delivery through third-party services. Analyse the needs of your customers and what has changed and try to adapt to them. Be transparent in your processes and be more humane in dealing with situations that have arisen. Despite the seriousness of what is happening, this is a good time to establish a dialogue with your client.