The spread of Covid-19 has shaken up corporate lives globally. Can we use this pandemic to do some good and reset corporate processes to be more sustainable? It is at times like this that many things we take for granted can become startlingly fragile. While stuck working at home we have no access to many consumables that are available in our workplace.
Here are some areas that we should digitize permanently to ensure your business is rebooted for sustainability. For instance, the accessibility to digitized documents anywhere anytime is a vital key area for business core functionalities. Moreover, providing a different channel for suppliers and businesses to participate in daily business interactions will enhance the smoothness of business transactions via digital platforms such as e-Procurement and e-Commerce portal.
More importantly, our daily business activities and work environment will need to re-define and also to maintain productivity towards the current crisis. Let’s leverage on this crisis and work on building a sustainable future for our business.
Ration The Use of Paper – Permanently!
Let’s start with the easiest and seldom addressed issue of paper use. We use a lot of paper in the course of operating our business. It is time to digitize and convert all paper-based documents into digital. It is definitely a good time to reconsider the use of paper. Documents such as invoices, purchase orders and customer statements can be converted to digital copies instead of paper base hard copy. These documents can be communicated to customers and suppliers via email or posting onto your corporate portal. Subsequently, all these documents can be archived into an electronic document management system.
Purchase in a Sustainable Manner
During this Covid-19 shutdown across various regions, the common refrain is social distancing. We can and should turn to e-Procurement for all our sourcing and purchasing requirements. This will reduce and eliminate the need to have the entire procurement process done with paper and with social contact. This includes digitizing the internal approval process using digital workflows, communicating with suppliers and vendors via a procurement portal and with all documentation digitized for disbursement.
Shift Your Sales Channels Mix
Person-To-Person and Brick and Mortar retail were severely restricted nationwide during the Covid-19 pandemic. Agile enterprises were able to rapidly redeploy sales efforts to new channels both in B2C and B2B enterprises. Taking a recent case study in Wuhan China:
“Cosmetic company, Lin Qingxuan, was forced to close 40% of its stores during the crisis, including all of its locations in Wuhan. However, the company redeployed its 100+ beauty advisors from those stores to become online influencers who leveraged digital tools, such as WeChat, to engage customers virtually and drive online sales. As a result, its sales in Wuhan achieved 200% growth compared to the prior year’s sales.”
Your sales organization also needs to be agile in order to reboot from the current situation.
Use digital technology to manage your employee, customer and supplier interactions. With remote working becoming a norm, a new set of complex coordination and management problems arise. Digital platforms such as B2B Sales Portal, eProcurement and Internal Portals can help drive this complex coordination.
Your business organization needs to be prepared for a fast recovery as a movement of goods and people can begin very quickly. Similarly, the consumption of goods and services can spike quickly when confidence returns to the local and global economy.
Disaster Pass, Business Goes On
Last but not least, COVID-19 is a shock but not unprecedented. Previous generations have dealt with Spanish flu, cholera, and bubonic plague, to name just a few. The difference is that today these diseases fly around the world with us instead of passing months on boats between distant shores, journeys on which the carriers of infection often died. The result was a slower spread, yet each of these diseases killed millions.
Importantly, humans go on. The question we can ask ourselves this time is: How would we like to use the COVID-19 disruption to our lives to improve the world? We can move beyond the narrow-minded pursuit of survival and become more sustainable by examining our business practices and the assumptions they rest on.