Global Corona pandemic- Double-edged Sword for Businesses

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Global Corona pandemic- Double-edged Sword for Businesses

Necessity and tough times breed innovation. This statement couldn’t hold more value and worth than the present times when the most successful business models earlier also faced major headwinds with the economy coming to standstill for almost 80 days in the country. What the current time taught us is to be prepared for any future eventualities on the back of smart technology solutions and out-of-the-box thinking, writes Anish Tripathi.

Those of us who think that the major impact of the pandemic created lockdown is over, are probably in for a rude shock. In as much as the economy is recovering, and the jury is out on whether it is as per expectations or not, we need to prepare for what can only be called the “New Normal”.

My initial fear that not enough investment would be made in new technology during this downturn, has turned out to be unfounded. Many leading companies – both in the logistics space, as well as general manufacturing, have utilized this lull period to make investments in technology and automation. The biggest investments have been made in warehouse automation and transportation / package tracking. Many companies have become so emaciated that they will not be able to survive – i.e. either shut down or be taken over. This is the law of nature – that defines the theory of evolution. Those that evolve will survive, and those that don’t, will die out. In as much as we ostensibly abhor violence, we don’t realize that “constructive violence” is the reason humans / companies survive and evolve. Interfering in the process of evolution (as governments get tempted to do or get bullied into doing) does not really help free markets and optimum allocation of capital.

Many people have lost jobs, which is sad. Many skills will become redundant – which is even sadder. However, people will survive and new jobs will emerge. We just need to reskill ourselves. A case in point is the best knife-manufacturing companies in the world are Japanese, and they have morphed from being manufacturers of Samurai swords! If they had asked the Government of Japan to help protect them, they would have remained small manufacturers of ceremonial swords. But they changed themselves when the world changed – i.e. no more Samurai swords were required for fighting wars – and repurposed their skills for making the best knives in the world.

The pandemic has forced companies to adopt technologies that they knew were required but were avoiding for some reason or the other. “Work-from-Home” technologies have been available for ages, but have only now been adopted with a vengeance, when we had no other option. Labor shortage is also forcing companies to make investments in automation. Smarter companies are now asking fundamental questions – meet only when you absolutely must, come to office only when needed, etc. The disruptive forces based on technologies that have already been developed are only picking up steam now. There is a lot of money “sloshing around” in the world, looking to fund disruptive ideas. Massive paradigm changes are upon us. If you have survived the pandemic, that means your business model is valid, and is serving a purpose. You can be proud about yourself.

Having said that, don’t become complacent, as the disruptive forces you could face, would not come from traditional competition. Keep on asking yourself, what Joel Barker calls the paradigm change question – “What, which is considered impossible today, but were it to happen, would fundamentally change the nature of your business”. Mull over this question. Agonize over it. Become paranoid about what could come at you, and from where. Because it is the answers to these questions that will provide you with the ability to be relevant in the markets of tomorrow.

All the best. Happy survival!

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