This article appeared in the September 2020 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
In February, none of us realized how COVID-19 would change the world. We had just finalized our strategic plans for the year and felt the optimism of a growing economy and a bright future. We had great plans!
Well, as Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
That is exactly how 2020 has felt for most of us — like a solid, painful punch in the mouth.
Suddenly, we had to figure out how to operate remotely, keep employees paid, apply for government assistance programs, and somehow keep morale up amid complete uncertainty.
As the initial shock wore off, smart business leaders saw through the “fog of war” and began to focus on three critical challenges: cash flow and expense management, maintaining staff productivity, and developing a pipeline to maintain growth. Technology solutions are being implemented to address and overcome these challenges while growing the business.
Cash Flow & Expense Management
Many manufacturers are looking to Managed Service IT Providers (MSP) to help in this area. The results are often surprising — allowing a qualified MSP to leverage their processes and economies of scale can lead to reduced costs. Equally important is that the pandemic shed light on the critical need for proactive cyber security measures that had been ignored in the past. Again, manufacturers are finding that qualified MSPs can provide this as part of their solution set at a cost that is a small fraction of trying to handle it internally.
Keeping Staff Productive
Microsoft 365 and its associated products — Outlook, TEAMS, SharePoint, OneDrive, OneNote — allows users to simply access all company information via a browser. All your staff needs to access their work resources is an internet connection. The productivity benefits go way beyond access though- these tools are all integrated and work together to foster team collaboration, document integrity, and information sharing.
Building Pipelines to Maintain Growth
Marketing teams have begun to focus on what is truly important — asking themselves “how can we provide value and help our clients?” New and creative ideas are emerging which need to be communicated to prospective clients. In a COVID-19 world, the best method for this is digital marketing. In many cases, comprehensive digital marketing campaigns are proving to be more effective than the traditional business development methods used in the past.
You can get punched and stay down or get back up and come out the other side stronger for having done so. While none of us would have chosen the events that have transpired in 2020, this crisis has inevitably forced us to become more focused on the fundamentals of our business. Will you let this crisis or the next destroy you or will you rise above it?