If bid teams are on the brink of a bidding surge, how quick will companies be able to adapt to such a climate where social distancing is enforced, unified digital collaboration is vital, and risk of burnout needs to be managed and monitored?
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a humanitarian challenge, and one that has quickly impacted global commerce and trade. Extended factory shutdowns, as well as quarantine and travel restrictions have sent shockwaves through the global economic pillars of education, health, manufacturing and tourism and every link in the supply chains that support them.
As markets decline and businesses slow down, many of us in the bid management world will be ramping up, with bidding activity likely to intensify further while procurement keeps the economy moving during and after this pandemic. Some industries will have immediate impact, while latent impacts in others will not be felt for months.
Procurement will diversify the supply base
Face masks and toilet paper rolls (or lack thereof) have become motifs for the virus, showing just how quickly supply and demand equilibrium can change. For now, procurement functions are focused on sourcing and building up supply bases in key local markets.
Next, it’s probable that they will accelerate the sourcing of alternative suppliers as they rethink their reliance on sole suppliers and go-to-market to secure fixed term price lock-ins / assurances in these uncertain times.
Businesses will also likely revisit their risk plans and consider greater localisation or regionalisation of their supply chains.
As history has shown, countercyclical policy response to crises has been largely undertaken with fiscal stimulus packages (more common since the global financial crisis) directed to public spending and social assistance. See Figure 1.
While immediate measures will be directed to the public health-led response, fresh injections of program funding will also be directed to recovery and prevention programs that draw upon lessons learned.
Research and development will also be accelerated, resulting in highly innovative technologies and a new era of innovation in science and business.
State and local governments might also engage in stimulus spending by initiating projects or implementing policies that encourage private sector investment to fuel the economic recovery. Spending on public works has been found to be effective in reversing adverse impacts.
Figure 1: Public social spending trend 1800 – 2016 – Our World in Data
The growing use of public private partnerships (PPPs or P3s) has become a more viable financing and project delivery model for international aid and infrastructure development programs as evidence of successes continue to mount. See Figure 2.
Momentum may build again, with PPPs used as a means of managing rising debt, advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and harnessing collective skills, experience and knowledge of public and private sector participants.
Figure 2: Total investment (billions of US dollars) and number of PPP projects in low and middle income countries, 1990-2015 – World Bank Private Participation in Infrastructure Database
Building organisational resilience
If bid teams are on the brink of a bidding surge, how quick will companies be able to adapt to such a climate where social distancing is enforced, unified digital collaboration is vital, and risk of burnout needs to be managed and monitored? The recovery in Chinese factory activity might be picking up (see Figure 3), but global uncertainties are growing.
Companies have long had to prepare for business interruptions and recovery, and coronavirus is testing continuity plans. Like any crisis however, this has a social element that could bring about lasting changes in how companies manage their workforce, and how people work.
Figure 3: Impact of Covid-19 in China – HBR
For progressive companies, this is the time to throttle programs forward and if resources aren’t ready to rapidly scale, third parties can help you get there faster. Many large companies are still in the early stages of full work from home or remote working, or have not committed enough to invest in full enablement.
The consumer tech world has known the advantages of simplicity and usability for over a decade but most enterprises still go through drawn-out technical assessments and long sales cycles when workers simply need tools that work – now.
Reimagining the new normal – the digital organisation mindset
Basic physics proves that friction slows things down and makes motion difficult. Conversely, we know less friction eases movement and increases speed. And when things are faster and easier to use, a lot changes.
Those same principles apply to technology, In this environment workers don’t need to lose more time figuring out how to use complex systems, and companies don’t need to spend more time and cost to support them in using them.
Simply replicating the workplace at home is truly a missed opportunity for enterprise to build new structures and make full use of assets and capabilities in the cloud. In times like this that companies – small and large – that are lumbered with the shackles of legacy systems need to embrace supply chain collaboration and digital remote working with simpler tools.
This outbreak may act as a catalyst to speed up that process, with the new way of working disrupting companies into becoming more agile, and more engaged and humanly connected than they ever were before. To support companies during this time, we’ve extended our standard trial to 90 days for bid teams needing rapid deployment to work on live bids. During times like this, how we respond as communities, companies and even startups has the ability to make real change.