The coronavirus pandemic has compelled companies across sectors to take a hard look at the way they do business. A recent KPMG report, “Navigating through COVID-19; Re-imagine, re-invent, reach out”, says that most companies have increased their focus on customer centricity, operations and employees. The report, which has been put together by interviewing 142 CXOs across 150 companies, says that over 62 per cent of the companies have overhauled their existing sales practices and channels, 23 per cent have revisited their marketing and communications strategy, while 15 per cent have redefined their customer initiatives. Reaching out to customers with the right value proposition and more importantly to create a perception that they are ‘safe and hygienic’ is a priority today.
Over 37 per cent of the companies have invested in strengthening their supply chain management, while 29 per cent have revamped their production operations. Order fulfillment and sales and operations have gained traction in the new supply chain norms, while flexi-production operations along with safety and hygiene have been core for companies. Research and development and new product development initiatives are also on the rise.
Though many companies have trimmed down their workforce, the KPMG report says that over 50 per cent of companies have invested in improving their employee morale and staff welfare. After all, changing market dynamics will require companies to invest in upskilling their employees to evolve skillsets (digital, analytics, etc.) and also take a holistic view on skill sets to include softer aspects such as communication, sustainability and leadership. Digital platforms are increasingly being used to enhance productivity and support remote working environment.
The KPMG report says that going forward India Inc needs to focus on three ‘Ps’ – positive consumers, proactive businesses and productive employees. Buying preferences of consumers, according to the report, are rapidly changing and companies need to find innovative ways to engage with consumers for understanding and building relevant value propositions around these evolving changes. With safety and hygiene becoming a top priority for consumers, companies need to not only include these factors across their operations but also effectively communicate the same with consumers to build necessary confidence and trust.
With changing shopping preferences of consumers and higher service level expectations, companies also need to build agility in inventory planning and logistics operations to complement their traditional distribution network with evolving distribution channels. As companies are recrafting their long-term and business continuity strategies, the report also recommends that in order to stay ahead of market requirements they need to also expedite their operational planning and decision-making processes by deploying analytics and necessary technology platforms.
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