Last year, the coronavirus pandemic spread like a wildfire, impacting the global economy. With a country-wide lockdown, most industries witnessed a massive decline in production, supply and demand, across verticals. Customers started relying on online services, leading the existing giants to revamp their online presence. Even the entertainment sector shifted gears, embracing online streaming services to ensure revenue generation. While few sectors survived, most struggled in the face of obliterated market shares.
With this new normal, creating a recovery roadmap is the critical first step of any business. With reduced revenue, declined production, impacted health and safety of the workforce, coupled with unforeseen regulations and unpredictable consumer behaviour, coming up with a plan of action is going to be notoriously strenuous.
According to studies by IBM and McKinsey, there is an increased prioritization of certain factors. Workforce safety, digital transformation, sales restructuring, customer retention and their experience are becoming increasingly vital for success.
But what does it mean for organisations, big and small, alike? Surprisingly, large corporations are becoming agile, playing from the rulebook of startups. Despite the devastation caused by the pandemic, organisations that were swift and successful in conforming to change, have shown immense potential for future growth. Companies are now providing budgets for different scale of projects across manufacturing and supply chain, testing out various technologies through pilot projects and POCs, as well as scaling up in quick succession across facilities once the ROI is derived. These are either internal developments or technology-sourcing from startups and IT service providers.
In manufacturing, some key areas of investment include safety, security, demand forecasting, cost management, sourcing and route optimisation. These parameters impact the overall cost associated with the entire value chain. The adoption of AI technologies has improved the efficiency, reduced costs and ensured business continuity. Thus, AI has witnessed an exponential growth with high business impact across manufacturing. In the “post-COVID” era, we are going to see a boom in the digital transformation across the manufacturing sector.
The retail sector primarily earns via online and offline marketplaces. Brick and mortar reliant businesses are embracing safety solutions to build consumer trust. To maintain and grow their loyal customer base, brands are opting for the use of AI for consumer analytics. Chatbots, intent prediction, emotion analytics and text analysis are also improving customer experience by a mile.
Economic recovery is a long and arduous journey. In the airline industry, one of the worst-hit sectors by the pandemic, planning and efficiency is critical. Fully utilising all resources, correct flight-planning and cost optimisation of flight halts at different airports, operational ground crew and cabin crews will be crucial post-COVID. Airline companies are now incorporating Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies for flight-planning and forecasting demand of different routes throughout the year. This digitisation trend will continue post-COVID.
The hospitality industry faces the same struggle. For them, enhanced safety measure along with the right advertisement is important in gaining the customer’s trust. Technologies enabling contactless check-in and check-out, monitoring safety compliance by its staff and establishing the transparency and quality will lead to faster recovery. Digital marketing and its innovative ways are being explored as means to reach customers.
Finally, work culture is a major transformation across the globe post-pandemic. Working remotely with teams across geographies, with the focus on employee safety, social distancing has heightened the importance of team dynamics.
The world, today, is rapidly digitising. Businesses are embracing this with a renewed sense of purpose and agility. To swiftly recover the lost revenue and develop newer income streams, organisations need to strategize their growth. A proper roadmap focusing on revenue streams, operations and organisation is needed. When coupled with digitisation, efficiency and quality across the value chain, companies thrive in the long run.
(Kunal Kislay is CEO and Co-Founder, Integration Wizard Solutions)