How are different sectors struggling with the crisis?

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on various sectors while offering opportunities to others. With the view of adjusting to new circumstances and surviving during the recession, organizations need to provide employee safety, streamline workflows, optimize costs, and improve customer experience.

Since the current outbreak was unexpected, most businesses were unprepared to the crisis:

  • Just 12% of companies are ready for the impact of the coronavirus, in accordance with Gartner’s Business Continuity Survey.
  • 56% of businesses said they feel somewhat prepared while 11% of respondents estimate themselves as relatively or completely unprepared. Just 2% of organizations believe their operations will continue as normal during and after the pandemic (Gartner).
  • 32% of senior executives rarely update their operating model, according to the information provided by Accenture and Oxford Economics in their ongoing Intelligent Operations survey.

In today’s uncertain market environment, you should ask yourself:

  • What digital business strategy should I develop to fight off the crisis?
  • How do I improve or modify the existing operations in order to continue providing great services?
  • How can I boost staff productivity?
  • Can I automate manual and repetitive tasks?
  • How do I overcome the ramifications of a crisis?

Answers to these questions will help you create a business continuity plan. In this article, you will see how different sectors are struggling with the crisis. We will also provide recommendations on how to streamline workflow, increase efficiency, and fight off competition. Many of these tips will suit any company.

How are different industries struggling with the crisis?

1. Healthcare

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced multiple challenges in the healthcare industry. Hospitals have to care about a growing number of patients while ensuring the best treatment. Pharmacies need to meet a significantly rising demand for medicines. Healthcare organizations are generating thousands of tests per day.

At the moment, some medical providers are having a 2700% increase in customer queries for support and information, according to the data collected by Innovations in Healthcare, a company that was founded as the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery. As a result, they are receiving thousands of calls and emails every day. These circumstances have forced the healthcare sector to integrate innovative technologies to cope with these issues.

In response to the crisis, healthcare providers should take the following measures:

  • The integration of remote health monitoring and management software should become the highest priority. Working in conjunction with mobile apps, sensors and smart devices can be used for tracking health indicators such as pulse, temperature, blood glucose level, arterial pressure, and heart rate. You can also employ an analytics system that will process large amounts of medical data and provide valuable insights.
  • Integrate an Artificial Intelligence-based chatbot to process numerous requests 24/7. A virtual bot can give answers to frequently asked questions, offer a kind of interpersonal communication, and provide 24/7 customer support. Additionally, it can instantly provide users with the required information, say, on drugs or disease symptoms.
  • Employ audio and video conferencing tools in order to hold online meetings and appointments with patients. In minor cases, these software solutions can replace face-to-face visits.
  • Use mobile and web applications to easily share personalized treatment plans with patients, view medical data, track health conditions, and quickly answer user questions. This way, doctors and nurses will be able to help a lot more people.

Taking these measures in response to the crisis, you will not only better overcome it but also improve patient care, enhance customer experience, and boost overall efficiency. Explore how to resolve healthcare challenges with innovative technologies.

2. Food service and retail

Food and retail industries are those that have received new opportunities due to the outbreak. Being in partial or complete isolation, people are buying and ordering goods via their smartphones, laptops, PCs, and tablets. For instance, today mobile apps of retail giants like Shipt, Instacart, and Walmart are witnessing record growth.

However, this presents challenges to businesses that don’t have an online presence. To outrun competitors and succeed in the market, you should automate workflows, digitize operations, and improve customer experience.

If sales have decreased and you are asking yourself “How to overcome the crisis?”, you should create a business continuity plan that contains the following measures:

  • Shift a focus from physical stores and dining areas to e-commerce websites and mobile applications.
  • Boost an online presence in social networks, communicate with customers, instantly answer their questions, reviews, comments.
  • If you have already had a website or mobile app, make sure it provides the seamless user experience, has a great intuitive design, and is resilient to high loads. If something is wrong, say, user interface design is totally outdated, consider making a redesign of your product.
  • Consider the option of incorporating an AI-enabled chatbot in your site or application. Bots can analyze incoming messages, answer various questions, and send tasks or user queries to the required specialists or departments. This digital solution will allow you to improve customer experience, faster respond to users, and process a lot more requests.
  • If you are not providing services via tech devices, you should reach your clients via a mobile and/or web app. For example, if you are the restaurant’s owner, you can build an online food delivery system.

    In case you are a retailer, think about making an e-commerce website. You can create a small solution with the key functionality for a quick start and then gradually scale it.

3. Construction and real estate

Unlike e-commerce and retail, the construction industry is suffering from the coronavirus outbreak. There are many factors that are negatively influencing the sector:

  • Supply chain disruption
  • Termination of contracts
  • Inability to work off-site because of social distancing
  • Shortage of resources and materials
  • Delays in delivery as contractors and subcontractors are not able to provide or obtain the required materials

As a consequence, the industry has to address various challenges such as decreased productivity, project downtime, higher costs on materials, and the need to optimize expenses. The COVID-19 disruption has made the use of technological solutions the top priority, with construction companies taking advantage of boosted efficiency and improved coordination.

See the list of tasks that you can include in your business recovery plan:

  • Integrate an asset management system to track all resources in your organization, optimize costs, and prevent losses.
  • Integrate a 3D modeling solution of industrial installations that will allow your employees to remotely map, control risk situations, and manage construction processes.
  • Employ a real-time reporting system via mobile or web apps in order to quickly and easily share files and documents, generate reports using pre-built templates, and better monitor arising issues.
  • Use a task management and planning system to track the project completion in real-time, which will let you view statuses from any place in the world. You can also provide interested parties with remote access if necessary.
  • Create a big data analytics system to process large amounts of data (e.g., files, reports, archives, etc.), make fast and informed decisions, verify information, and partner with trusted subcontractors and vendors. In addition, you can employ this technology to manage risks, faster resolve claims and trade disputes.

By taking these measures as a part of your business continuity plan, you will be able to remotely track tasks and projects, improve risk management, increase efficiency, streamline communications, and reduce human errors.

4. FinTech and InsurTech

While many FinTech and InsurTech firms are raising their capitals and funding from lenders, other financial companies are taking cost-saving measures. Those organizations that invested in real estate projects, were forced to suspend their activities.

In today’s uncertain market environment, digitization has become the primary goal. Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, big data, mobile apps, and blockchain solutions help the industry overcome the crisis.

See what activities you can include in your business recovery plan:

  • Incorporate AI-based chatbots in call-centers, websites, applications.
  • Employ know-your-customer (KYC) regulations to protect client assets, ensure ID security, and support remote banking.
  • Develop an online banking portal or a mobile app to allow clients to easily access their bank accounts, make payments, sign documents using a digital signature, and view a history of transactions from any place in the world.
  • Provide users with personalized customer experience and tailored financial advice with the help of online consultations, chats, and AI-enabled bots.

“If we hadn’t integrated digital documentation, remote supplier onboarding tools or our API connectivity into our offering, we wouldn’t be able to deliver what have become essential digital services to customers today.” — said John Laurens, head of transaction banking at DBS.

5. Logistics and supply chain management

Logistics is another industry that has suffered from the pandemic. Soon, the borders will start to gradually open and traffic—including rail, air, and marine connections—will finally get better.

To overcome the crisis, you should create the following business continuity plan:

  • Use a location management solution that will allow you to monitor vehicle location, driver activities, and cargo delivery status. Once goods arrive at a certain place, employees will be automatically informed via push notifications. You can also incorporate real-time visualization on the map. This will help you track all transportation intermediary stages.
  • Integrate an inventory management system. You can place sensors and use a mobile application to track numerous items and their position in real-time. Scanning barcodes and monitoring locations, you will prevent any losses, reduce labor involvement, and boost productivity.
  • Leverage the power of drone-based delivery. The use of drones will provide your company with a great competitive advantage. Fast transportation, resolution of last-minute delivery issues, instant in-store delivery, contactless delivery, minimized labor costs are the main benefits of this innovation.

    According to Gartner’s predictions , global shipments of IoT enterprise drones will reach 526,000 units, increasing by 50% from 2019. By 2023, this number is anticipated to grow to 1.3 million.

  • Use a blockchain-based system to store data and ensure the highest security level. In some cases, the transportation process involves over 150 intermediary steps passing the hands of manufacturers, suppliers, retailers.

    As a result, there is a massive data flow that needs control. With blockchain technology, you can manage multiple records, view cargo statuses, and see other information. What’s more, you can provide every product with a digital ID to protect goods from counterfeit.

Learn how you can use blockchain solutions to address 7 business challenges . A bonus is a checklist to see whether you should integrate this technology or not.

Summing it up

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on many industries, the future of your company largely depends on thoughtful planning and how flexible you are. To overcome the crisis, you should create a business continuity plan that can involve the following activities:

  • Improve customer experience, for example, using AI-enabled chatbots and online consultations.
  • Reduce labor costs, say, by employing drone-delivery, an IoT-based inventory tracking system, or AI technology for automated request processing.
  • Provide remote client support and data security with customer identity verification and blockchain solutions.
  • Use project management systems to track multiple tasks and activities.
  • Integrate an asset management system to monitor all resources in your company.
  • If you are the owner of a pizza house, cafe, restaurant, etc., build an online food delivery service if you haven’t done it yet.
  • In case you are a retailer, make sure that your e-commerce site is resilient to high loads and has a modern user-friendly design. If you have only a physical store, shift a focus to online presence.
  • Employ mobile and web applications to offer users tailored advice, share data, provide remote access to services, collect and generate reports, and a lot more.

If you have questions about the topic or need assistance in creating a business recovery plan or digital strategy, contact our experts . Having helped dozens of companies to address industry-specific challenges, we will be glad to help you with yours.

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