The COVID Crisis is a “Black Swan Event” and the most disruptive global occurrence in 100 years. Most businesses were already dealing with the disruptive impact of technology – the pandemic’s mandated closures have changed how people live and work.
As the economy reopens business owners need to make decisions, set direction and determine the specific actions to move their company forward. If we look at history to help guide us, the last BIG impact to American business was in 2008.
The Great Recession of 2008 was the result of several factors: The end of an economic cycle, speculation in real estate, easy access to capital and the transformation of the economy. Much discussion has been made about the first three and not enough about the transformation of the global economy. As the United States and most of the world struggled with little or no growth, companies were forced to look inward to sustain themselves and improve earnings. Much of the reason for such a prolonged period of low growth was the transformation of the economy. The technology revolution commenced in earnest after the Great Recession.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses around the world, but American businesses have faced some unique challenges. Mandated closures, limitations on occupancy, supply chain disruptions along with staff illness and fear have American companies scrambling into new practices and techniques to sell and deliver their products or services. The pandemic has thrust the technology boom into overdrive – what was coming in the next 5 -10 years is now here. Most companies are pivoting to technology to operate – providing the visibility and data making the marketplace much more efficient.
Technology is not the only answer. All companies in all industries must offer their products and services on time, with the highest quality and at the lowest cost. Any activity involving labor, material, equipment or any process that is not efficient – does not add value to a product or service – must be eliminated. This is what companies must do to survive – eliminate waste and inefficiency – operate better delivering a perfect customer and client experience. As the economy continues to emerge and transform from the pandemic, it is critical for all companies to engage all their resources in becoming Lean and Efficient – the new reality.
What is Lean? “Lean is a system of process improvement designed to eliminate waste through the application of lean practices and tools optimizing value with the most efficient use of capital, equipment, and materials.” Capital includes your people and their talents, equipment includes your business systems, and material includes all the material you use in the process of satisfying your customer’s requirements. Lean lowers costs, greatly improves competitive advantage, is applicable to all types of businesses, and creates a cultural transformation in the business.
Another key factor in today’s fast-paced, rapidly transforming environment, is that companies can no longer just count on the business Leader or even the Leadership Team to manage the business. The culture must change and involve all your employees in the success of the company. Your customer service department is no longer a facilitator but must become a solutions provider. He or she must come to work every day seeking better ways to do his or her job. Every employee must be aware of the processes they use to execute their duties and continually be searching for ways to do their job better—error-free. Continually improve or perish.
A Lean culture and mindset will allow business owners to engage the organization to set a new direction and allow the company to be competitive in the marketplace.
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