The coronavirus outbreak is undoubtedly a once in century challenge that will affect us physically, mentally and financially for some time. It seems like the 2011 movie ‘Contagion’ is becoming reality for many, albeit with a little less dramatic flair and a little more sitting on the couch watching Netflix.
Governments are having to act quickly and decisively to protect vulnerable citizens and limit the damage to their economies.
At Advanced Watertek, we have closely monitored the situation and have tried to implement several different initiatives to navigate these uncertain times.
1. Protecting our employees
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WHO and national governments are changing their guidelines frequently, to address the situation properly. Employee safety should be paramount to your success in ensuring safe passage through the crises. We have most of our employees should be working from home where possible and employees in shared accommodation have agreed to take appropriate self-isolation measures if and when they are exposed to COVID-19.
2. Setting up cross-functional response teams
All Businesses should establish a dedicated team to ensure a simple but well-managed set of processes that maximize the health and safety of colleagues and customers. We have set up several informal teams to divide responsibility and enable every employee to contribute to ensuring business continuity. We have separated our teams into the following areas:
Employee management and wellbeing
Financial stress-testing and contingency planning
Supply chain monitoring
Marketing and sales
3. Stabilizing our supply chain
Geographic areas around the world are experiencing transitions to new suppliers and inventory levels. To immediately stabilize the supply chain, businesses should then turn their attention to pre-booking rail and air freight capacity and using after-sales stock as a bridge.
To stabilise our supply chain, Advanced Watertek has tried to establish relations with more local suppliers in the UAE, both to bolster the national economy and to reduce our dependency on Europe and the United States for components. This has resulted in us adding 1.4 Million AED to our stock level to ensure business continuity.
4. Stay “close” to customers
Businesses will need to make a concerted effort to keep customers engaged and reassured in the short term. Discounts, special offers and other incentives will all help current customers. For longer-term stability, firms should start assessing and targeting other market segments and identify opportunities for growth.
We at Advanced Watertek have made a significant effort to reach out to our current customers, despite the movement and travel restrictions. We have stepped up our video conferencing, our social media presence, our email communications and introduced more content to allow our customers and followers to know we are there for them. We also implemented a CRM system (HubSpot) anticipating that we would eventually have to serve our customers’ needs remotely.
5. Demonstrating our purpose
Businesses of all shapes and sizes should endeavour to support efforts to contain the spread of the virus wherever possible. Demonstrating this sense of purpose will have a positive knock-on effect on colleagues, clients and the wider business community.
By doing all of the above, Advanced Watertek has enabled itself to try and charter a path through these uncertain waters. While the results of our activities may not be truly known until the dust settles from this pandemic, it is better to err on the side of caution rather than to simply wait until it ends.
We will get through this as a company and as a people so stay safe, stay in touch with relatives and loved ones and help us flatten the curve so we can continue doing business and, importantly, so can you.