Looking beyond: External factors and remobilisation
11 May 2020
This is the second part of a series focussed on strategy. The first covered why you need a new strategy and now the focus shifts to some of the external factors that will shape your thinking and considerations in remobilising your business.
Re-visiting your strategy will require the ability to solve a number of complex challenges and capitalise on opportunities, some of which have been forced on you by the current environment. These will set in motion a series of programs that will require appropriate prioritisation, planning, resource and agility to implement. Outlined below are some key external factors that may impact your strategy and the practical steps to consider if you are required to remobilise your business.
The assessment of the market and trading conditions will identify several challenges and opportunities. The current pandemic has accelerated a number of trends around how businesses interact with their customers. E-Commerce and E-Health will continue to thrive and those not in a position to serve customers or navigate other external factors are destined to suffer.
Political – The political and regulatory landscape will need to be continually re-assessed. New and revised regulations will be a common occurrence, with potential changes in tax and other policy.
Economic – Unprecedented Government stimulus and intervention in industries may result in longer term structural changes. Greater sovereignty to protect health and welfare of citizens could result in permanent changes in attitudes to globalisation for certain sectors. Softening demand may persist with consumer confidence, unemployment and international boundaries, all potential constraints. The low Australian dollar may also impact those exposed to import and export markets.
Social – Shifts in consumer behaviour towards E-Commerce and at-home consumption will need to be considered. Views around responsibility and the adoption of health policies will form and augment over time.
Technological – Keep the customer at the heart of your thinking. Look for opportunities to improve efficiency and enable an overall better customer experience.
Many businesses will be faced with the prospect of remobilising their operation. This will be daunting but should be informed by your new strategy. It may also require larger considerations including incorporating work practices based on latest health advice, changes to business models, supply chains and different geographical footprints, all of which mean planning is critical.
Fail fast – Pilot and test initiatives in smaller samples and incorporate learnings as you remobilise. This discipline and approach will pay-off exponentially and will become critical to ensuring longer term plans are met. At this point you also have the opportunity to involve your customer and incorporate their feedback early.
Align your upstream and downstream partners – Quite often your partners will need to ramp at the same pace as you and will face the same challenges around adjusting processes, systems and the necessary throughput. Establish the appropriate communication channels and governance to keep them informed of demand and/or supply forecasts, how these change and also lessons learned from your journey.
Review and monitor progress to adapt accordingly – There will always be challenges and dependencies that need to be overcome. Establishing the appropriate level of governance will allow you to reallocate your scarce resource in a timely manner to continue to move forward.
Invest in key resource – Your new environment may be unstructured, requiring people to become actively involved in developing processes, managing system changes, managing ambiguity and taking a hands-on approach to execution. This environment does not always suit everyone’s skill set.
Understand the investment – Remobilising your company will likely require investment whether it be people, systems, property or working capital. Carefully consider your current funding structure and how best to optimise this through debt facilities or equity. This will give you the flexibility and security to drive forward. A carefully constructed plan will also make this much easier.
The following posts will look at practical steps for building resilience into your supply chain, strategic M&A opportunities, optimising your capital structure and the importance of strategy execution.