The following is a transcript of an podcast by Dan Beaulieu. It was published on April 6th, 2020.
Over the past few weeks, we have been writing about how to keep business as usual in these unusual times:
- how to market your company
- how to make sales calls
- how to sell your products
all while not being able to be in front of your customers. I have also offered a plan called Business as Usual: Selling without visiting customers which is available for anyone who wants one (see information at the end of this column). One of the things we talk about in this plan is to be prepared for the world as it will look once this great danger has subsided. I thought about this so much that I decided to take a shot at what the world will look like on the other side of the Coronavirus, or Covid 19 as the Corona Beer people would prefer, we call it. (sorry you gotta smile once in a while).
And after doing some research, and some visioning, here is what I have come up with:
Life after Covid 19
- More people will work from home. The way we work will be now shaped and changed forever as people find that many of them can work at home much more easily, and effectively, than in a building with other people. This is something, I found out years ago when we started the consulting business. It’s amazing how much you can get done on your own schedule, working when you want, not having to attend someone else’s meaningless meetings and not having to put up with the guy who wants to go last night’s episode of Game of thrones for an hour every week. Thank you Zoom and Go to meeting and all the other meeting services we can use.
- Shopping. Our shopping habits will change, converting even more people to online shopping as more and more people are now forced to do it and novices are forced to learn how to do it. The transition to online shopping will be complete. This means that retail stores will have to become more engaging and valuable or die. Advice to retail stores, visit an APPLE store and see how you can do it to thrive.
- Movies. The way we watch movies will change drastically as even now movie studios are already offering first run movies for streaming, now that the movie theatres are closed. For about twenty dollars you can stream a brand-new movie in your home. Related to this, other streaming services are already taking off like a shot, as people turn to them for entertainment in their locked-down houses. This means the competition will increase and we will benefit by being able to watch even better films in the future.
- Universal healthcare. People will want more universal healthcare now that they see what life without it in a pandemic can be like, expect the arguments against it to wane and universal healthcare become a priority.
- Stockpiling. Learning from the shortages we have faced; we can expect stockpiling of everything from medical face masks, to ventilators, to toilet paper. I cannot imagine any household not having a year’s worth of toilet paper in storage after this is all over. It is amazing to me how people grew so panicky about toilet paper, and Purell, and soap and water and everything else they could not find when they wanted it in the grocery stores. We as Americans are not used to not having what we want when we want it!
- Respect for medical research. I hope that people will come to appreciate science, and medical research and what it can do for us. The fact that hospitals can be erected in a matter of days, or that a vaccine for a virus can be discovered in a matter of months cannot help but amaze us and make us respect this scientist more now than ever.
- More onshoring. As we realize that yes, we went too far in turning over entire industries to China, being happy to let them build anything, as long as we got it more cheaply. Having no regards whatsoever for the damage we were doing to our own domestic infrastructures. Hopefully we learn a lesson, that yes although we are in a global economy, we still need to protect our own domestic companies and keep them not only solvent, but profitable for the long term. This should ring loud and clear to the big OEMs like Motorola and Cisco and Intel and Apple and many others who so gleefully skipped over to Asia with their new products, products developed here in the U.S. for the sake of their own bottom line. Let’s remember when we complain about China, that the Chinese did not come over here and take our technology, and our business, we went over there and happily handed it over to them, so that we could buy a DVD player for $29.99 instead of $69.99… maybe now we’ll tend to ask ourselves was it really worth it?
- We will be a better country. Of this I have not doubt– we are Americans after all, in the end we believe with everything that we are made of, that we will find a way. Just as we have always done, we will come out of this crisis for the better in all ways. That history tells us is something you can count on. It’s only common sense.
For a copy of D.B. Management’s Business as Usual: Selling without visiting customers Contact me at 207-649-0879 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
While this blog written from a more general point of view it is a valuable exercise to explore how these points will affect business in general and manufacturing in particular.
Companies that manufacture products such as PC boards and electronic assemblies understand how valuable of face-to-face meetings are because the they provide opportunities to:
- demonstrate capabilities
- review/revise design schema for current projects in a collaborative environment
- demonstrate prototypes
With many folks working from home, these things are difficult but not impossible to do. Even when the current restrictions on travel and group gatherings ease, many companies will need to improve their online meeting capabilities to provide a way to hold meetings in person.
Another great example is stockpiling. Companies that have mission critical parts may seek larger orders to protect against future shut-downs or transport challenges. Stockpiling may also provide new opportunities for parts that companies cannot obtain from their regular sources.
Last, but not least, is onshoring aka re-shoring. Many companies shipped components overseas to areas like China which is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19. These effects will undoubtedly provide American companies with opportunities to provide components as the cost of ownership is re-balanced by supply chain imperatives.