We’ve all recently been adjusting to our new state of normal, at least what we have to plan will be normal as we work through a period of time that is truly unprecedented. We're all going to get used to working differently. What does this mean to your employees, your clients, your prospects, your supply chain, your earnings? I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell you with certainty what things will look like in a month, three months, a year, but none of us know as this truly is uncharted territory.
When faced with uncertainty it can make a lot of sense to lean on the fundamentals and shore up existing processes to position your business to weather rough seas. I polled many of the experts here at Experian and I want to pass on some insights based on current events and learnings from the last recession:
Your employees are your number one asset - Don’t forget your people
Flexibility is key here. As a parent of two, I’m now sharing my office with two grade schoolers who are navigating their way into the early stages of an extended virtual learning campaign. Work with your teams to fine-tune remote-working arrangements and expect there to be some bumps in the road. Over-communication is key as your people are going to be balancing long lines at the local Costco with their work duties. Responsibilities will need to be accomplished slightly differently than what we’ve grown accustomed to.
Focus on your Supply chain and know all your suppliers
Supply chains have inherent risks. Are you dependent on single suppliers? Are they all overseas? Do they have the capacity to keep up volume if one plant goes offline or has disruptions? Apple is a name mentioned often when it comes to a dependency on overseas suppliers, which the Coronavirus has painfully exposed. It’s always a good idea to map your exposure and understand the true linkage.
Many firms started to diversify away from China over fears related to trade tariffs, but shifting supply chains isn’t easy. According to Mike Willis, board member for the Southern Texas Manufacturer’s Association, who spoke with Marketplace recently saying, “sourcing and re-certifying a supplier can sometimes take up to a year.” If the trade tariffs weren’t enough, now is the time to re-double efforts finding alternatives with a mix of both international and domestic suppliers, as both primary and secondary supply options.
Manage your accounts
After an unprecedented growth run, things are changing rapidly. Account management is a critical part of any risk management strategy, even more so as we encounter swift economic change:
- Reduced account openings and increased losses can be offset by a renewed focus on account management
- Many credit departments will be trying to do more with less and will need tools to efficiently and proactively monitor their accounts for changes – both positive and negative
- Our turn-key account management, portfolio features and proactive alerts with BusinessIQ can help you get ahead of the curve.
- Alternative data sources, like Social Media Insights can provide real-time insight in addition to historical payment and public record information.
None of us have a crystal ball and it’s impossible to predict a global crises like the Coronavirus, but we’re going to successfully navigate these trying times together and put you in a position to continue delivering to your clients with a recipe of flexibility, common sense, supply chain vigilance and a healthy account management strategy.
Stay safe everyone.