What is COVID-19 Teaching Us

Two major lessons we have learnt in the last 4 months; we as humans do not have total control and dominion over our environment and that we need to look after each other. Are there some, if any, trying to go back the pseudo-comfortable, non-sustainable, non-agile pre-covid era?

Yes, business will return as it always has, some will have been in the right place and the right mindset, with the right product/service to make the most of a catastrophe, for the rest of us it is not so good. The question is, what has been learnt and are we putting these learnings into practice. Are we evolving as people, as businesses and societies to manage this return to business.

There will be a huge number of specific lessons for businesses but with a broad brush I propose that we should, as businesses, have learnt some generic, wide reaching lessons and be taking actions to update our processes and policies to reflect the new normal. The obvious ones that comes to mind:

  • How do we keep velocity up in the decision-to-implementation process? We had a LOT of noise and extended project time within business, with the discussions, budgeting, planning and execution. Yet when time was seen as critical because of the situation we got things over the line in months instead of years.
  • Have all the contracts been reviewed and updated for new, realistic and versatile SLAs/KPIs, termination triggers and with flexibility to cover unexpected events.
  • Have alternative sourcing protocols been instigated. Have supply lines been reviewed for potential outages and solutions agreed with suppliers.
  • BCP (Business Continuity Plans) – this is the document that for so long was only given lip-service. So… has a BCP been drafted and in place, covering many, broad scenarios.
  • Have HR and WHS policies and systems been put in place that will ensure the safety and welfare yet effectiveness of all employees. Is WFH a new paradigm within the business? Has the working “space” been reviewed?
  • Cyber-tech. Any lessons here? Was software and hardware adequate (also the current trend for security breaches must be included). Did you manage without issues? Is this area a major part of your new BCP – what happens if there was a software COVID, a major, self-propagating virus that had no “vaccine” yet far more contagious than we have seen to date (rest assured, someone will be working on designing one). Most could recover but the outcome for too many could be fatal.
  • Psychological impacts and fallout from a major incident how are they going to be handled and addressed. People will be anxious and more focused on self-preservation (jobs and lives). Will there be an avoidance of risk, will this add value or limit the ability of your business to survive. Plus, the fallout will not just included employees, there will be multiple stresses placed on everyone within society, including suppliers, customer and investors. All will now have their own priorities.

Those are some of the lessons that I can quickly think of to date, there will be more as the economy improves for as history shows, the economy will not return like the slow turning of a tap, it will come in surges and waves.

So you survived the initial downturn, do you have systems and people in place who can work with agility and velocity to keep up with a variable, unknown return.

There will be changes in all areas of life, especially now as we have a second wave of COVID-19 rolling through many countries, reinforcing the fact that we are not as invincible as we thought and yet we are capable of stepping up when we have too.

Overall lesson: do we now know HOW and WHEN to step up.

How does your country fare in the 2020 FM Global Resilience Index

Australia is 17th overall in the 2020 FM Global Resilience Index, yet we are 22nd in Supply Chain resilience.
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Some of the indicators show more work is needed around Productivity. Here we are in a BAD state – we have given away our ability to manufacture. Instead, we dig stuff up/grow it, sell it to make a small profit, then we BUY it back at a huge price after it has had ‘value’ added. Economics-101 tells you that is a dumb idea.
Then there is our Corporate Governance (hmm, maybe this one applies to corporate AND Government) & Infrastructure – things we have just ignored or because there are some who didn’t want us to see, either way. we are now realising these also bite if not monitored and kept up to standard.
There are less insidious ones, for example Exposure to Natural Hazards. We are aware of these, we just need to do more about working to reduce the risk. And this is the sad thing, we just got so apathetic on preventing unnecessary outcomes from fires, floods and storms. 
There are two we need to keep an eye on as they are based on outside forces: specifically our reliance on imported oil – we only have a stockpile of around 26-30 days. Options being proposed will not address the need if we start running out (if there was a double hit covid-19 AND an oil shortage – Australia will not slow down, it STOPS.
The other issue to watch is our cyber-security, as an island nation, a long way from the rest of the world, a catastrophic cyber hijacking or cyber war, or whatever, would be devastating
Ok, I agree, we are doing well compared to the whole data population but compared to Western countries we are in a dismal state – how could AU be so far behind NZ and UK in Supply Chain?  Location has nothing to do with it as NZ and UK are on opposite sides of the planet! (Its rhetorical – I am sure there are plenty who would love to comment).

When compared to a couple others:

  • Norway = 1st Overall / 12th Supply Chain
  • Singapore = 22nd Overall / 1st Supply Chain
  • United Kingdom = 13th Overall / 4th Supply Chain
  • New Zealand = 15th Overall / 6th Supply Chain
  • Australia = 17th Overall / 22 Supply Chain
  • Indonesia = 80th Overall / 63rd Supply Chain

 

If you want to find out about your country or more data on Australia visit the source: https://lnkd.in/gZ_NjZU