Businesses are working on picking up the pieces and reassemble their operations in anticipation of a post-pandemic recovery. It is a fact that the world is a different place than what it was a year ago. These differences have an impact on how we are buying and selling things, but no one really understands the full nature of these differences. Some old trends have maintained, while new ones have also developed in this economic environment. There are some clues that have begun to reveal what could be in store for businesses in the near future. Business expert Israel Figa highlights trends that have currently developed and are expected to extend over time:
Trend 1: Mobility
Mobility has become vital for business processes, now more than ever. It is just not possible to keep systems locked down on centralized platforms. Field service and sales personnel are already making use of cloud-based applications, such as CRM and CPQ, for identifying customers, configuring solutions and delivering successful outcomes. These mobilized applications have proven to be quite viable and have allowed people to operate anytime and anywhere with full connected capabilities. According to Dr. Israel Figa, these mobilization technologies will be helpful for remote workers in fulfilling their duties and functions beyond their physical offices.
Trend 2: Remote Workers
It is a good thing that this coronavirus pandemic didn’t happen 25 years ago. Israel Figa says that one of the most remarkable things that have been witnessed include the possibility of so many workers performing their duties remotely and visiting the physical office only when essential. As a matter of fact, it has become successful to such a degree that many have started to question the need for centralized and large office facilities. A lot of businesses have already given their employees the option of working remotely in the future. Some have also sold their offices or are planning to do so. This trend is expected to gain traction amongst a lot of processes and business that are not tied to needing a physical location.
Trend 3: Manufacturing Automation
Before people rush to the conclusion that employment levels in factories will go back to normal post-pandemic, Israel Figa says that everyone needs to be aware that automation will mostly enable the reshoring of a number of these manufacturing facilities. AI, robotics, IoT and various other advanced technologies will continue to reduce the requirement of human intervention in the manufacturing process. Furthermore, these technologies will also assist workers in doing their jobs remotely from the shop floor, which enables the option of remote-worker. Also, workers will be wearing different hats in the operation, as they move from process to process, providing labor or supervising as required.
Trend 4: Redefining the Supply Chain
The extended worldwide supply change was established due to globalization. Regardless of the political and social implications of this movement, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of this practice when implemented by manufacturers. According to Israel Figa, the lack of logistical resources needed for moving products predictably and quickly and the distance involved has exposed a number of weaknesses and fragilities in numerous supply-chain operations. The solution is to locate multiple sources for essential supplies and to seek local options. While this trend will certainly evolve, companies that want stability, predictability and reliability in their supply chains will go with shorter distances wherever possible.
Trend 5: Data and Digitization as an Advantage
A lot of the businesses that have suffered minimal effects of the pandemic are the ones that understood the need for keeping and exploiting data that they generate and use. Israel Figa says that these are the businesses that have transferred critical business procedures from centralized desktop platforms to mobilized remote ones, which enable workers to do their job without having to leave their homes. Sales forces making use of CPQ systems and marketing campaigns that are able to use automation tools, which involve CRM systems containing valid and clean prospect and customer data have continued to engage with their clientele.
There are also savvy companies out there, which were lacking in these areas and they have been quick to use these capabilities and implement technologies through cloud-based applications and other systems that are aimed at automating the selling process.
Trend 6: Evolving of Manufacturing Doctrines
Ever since Toyota and McKinsey started to redefine production and factory processes used by businesses, manufacturers have begun to embrace practices like lean manufacturing, just-in-time, demand-driven production and others. These can help in increasing predictability of any production needs and planning requirements and reducing inventory. Israel Figa says that a lot of these practices are now being reconsidered because of the instability that exists in supply chains.
It is not that these practices are bad, but they are just not effective without the supply chain that’s needed, especially in the current environment. Manufacturers are no longer willing to depend on precisely synchronized supply delivery without maintaining a local inventory cushion. While this evolution is not predictable, there is a good chance there will be one.
Trend 7: Reshoring Manufacturing
Going hand in hand with the new model for supply chains, Israel Figa says that the market will see the physical reshoring of a number of manufacturing operations. This trend had already begun to develop before the COVID-19 pandemic hit because of political and social pressures in various countries. However, given what businesses had to deal with and the problems that still exist, there is a good chance that it will gain momentum. More and more companies will be considering this option in order to avoid a repeat of the difficulties they had to put up with.
Any business that wants to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and thrive in the post-pandemic world needs to keep up with the trends outlined by Israel Figa. This will help in making any adjustments to practices and plans that may be required going forward and prepare the business to handle anything that may come their way.