Navigating our new normal

In the time of Covid-19, companies need to rethink their operating models to ensure they can handle disruptions.

27 May 2020 | Business

Companies and their leaders need to force themselves to reimagine the future and be strategic.

Janita Breedt



The Covid-19 has created significant personal, economic and social challenges. Wrapping our minds around what is happening is difficult.

Having resulted in five million known infections and 329 000 deaths as at 20 May 2020, the new coronavirus is deadly, and we have not seen anything like this in more than a century. The coronavirus is mainly a healthcare problem, but one with huge impact for business and the economy.

Balance sheets have been extremely stretched and small businesses even more affected than larger companies as they simply do not have the same cash reserves as large companies do. All except the hardest-hit firms are trying to maintain their workforce; the result is that they burn through cash and end up in a much riskier financial position.

Companies with stronger balance sheets

will be able to build back or sustain their business more easily, while many others will struggle.

Companies and their leaders need to force themselves to reimagine the future and be strategic.

Businesses need to review how they re­sponded to the pandemic, understand best practices, and prepare for the next inevitable crisis. It will be impossible for our systems to cope with the next challenge if they remain in the same state in which they entered this one.



Back to the drawing board

Companies need to rethink their operating models to ensure they can handle disruptions. It is important for the business model to be flexible to evolve as circumstances change.

Companies need to think about constructing supply chains that can function in a world in which international transport may be shut down. Those that view technologies as critical will be able to drive faster business transformation.

Companies will need to evaluate their portfolios from the standpoint of the products or services needed in a very different economy.

We must find a way to reduce disparity, address the major threats presented to our well-being and rebuild trust in the institutions that make society work at the same time we rebuild our businesses, our work, and the lives of our employees.

We should not lose the potential benefit of the natural reflection everyone is now beginning to go through: to create the world we want to have and not just re-establish the world we had before.

If ever there were a time for leadership, it's now.

* Janita Breedt is the audit senior manager at PwC Namibia.

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