Coronavirus and resulting disease Covid-19 is now a global pandemic, it is a reality. Digging out the causes that resulted in this epidemic is one way that will help us to find out the reasons for the sheer failure of the global mechanism which could not resist its spread and yet could not find out a cure for the disease.
Now we are in a situation to take both aware and cautious efforts to protect us and our businesses and also of course not letting out the thinking the causes why today the world is in this situation.
While reflecting on the core reason of today’s reality, we need to understand the fact that ‘quarantine’ and ‘isolation’ is not the same though the dictionary shows you these are synonyms. Mankind cannot survive in isolation, society as a whole could be quarantined but all its activities (at least basic) must be continued.
An individual or hospital or home could be carefully separated to resist spread over but basic needs must be fulfilled. A city and country should have been quarantined but all citizen services must be kept functional. If China could have done this right person must not leave their city/country the disease must not have spread all over the world today.
China’s production share in selected industries, 2018
|Industry||% Share of Global Production in China, 2018||Industry’s Exports Share, % of total 2018||Impact on Global Supply Chain|
|Textiles and apparel||54%||23%||High|
|Rubber and plastic||38%||8%||Moderate|
|Pharmaceuticals and medical goods||29%||8%||Moderate|
Further back if we look at the possible sources (as per global media) of the first human contamination, we still can understand that it was a sheer mistake to approach a research without human necessity (need for solving a human problem) but only with the motif of profit-making, is also a wrong thing done.
However, in this reality today, we need to protect (Corona-protect) us or live with reality (Corona-lifestyle) by adopting some principal in our lifestyle. We need to revisit our business strategies as well. This article will try to depict some way outs, which can be implemented in the short run but benefits could be achieved in both the short and long run.
Do not panic, stay aware
The rational mind does not work while you are panicked. Do not allow the sources of panic to come into you, rather attach yourself to the sources where you would get tranquility and assurance.
However, it does not mean you put your hand in a fire in a cold mind without awareness. You need to remain very cautious and attentive as a human being always should be. Reflecting on the beliefs of mankind will give the strength to overcome any such situation.
Keep trust that Corona still is only a virus and humankind can overcome it. It is only science and there is some knowledge available already, so we need to practice them. We need to take responsibility for the people in our business. We need to make them aware to live a Corona-lifestyle. Business premises may have Corona-drills like fire-drills we do.
Remain conservative in growth; find out the ways of cost reduction
In this reality, we should not be aggressive in pursuing growth in revenue we need to be very strategic as we can increase our profit as if we can survive the turmoil time. Global exports surely will shrink and so its impact will surely touch the export-oriented textile and apparel industry.
At this point, we need to focus on our strengths and need to reduce risk. Without being desperate on taking junk orders we should rely on trustworthy business lines. Remember if the situation worsens in Europe and the US, the trust and commitments of your customers will be tested. All the contracts you are making; please make sure that the clauses protect you. If your mainstream client base shrinks, you also need to adopt a contraction policy.
However, in this reality today, we need to protect (Corona-protect) us or live with the reality (Corona-lifestyle) by adopting some principal in our lifestyle.
However, of course, this is always still an opportunity to find out suitable alternative (must be safe) market, which will bring diversity in your portfolio.
This is a time to concentrate on cutting costs further not by squeezing the people of your company but by engaging and motivating them to combat the challenging time. The survival instincts of people will find out the ways. So this is still the best time to implement your efficiency tools which you could not implement till now through your better days.
Increase the efficiency of supply chain and financial management
Most importantly look at your cash flows, do not become defaulter in this difficult time, remember most likely now you will not get enough support from your banks and other financial institutions. If you have a good business, concentrated on building relationships and trust in your supply chain, now you will get benefits from your supply partners.
If till now you have not given value to your suppliers in achieving their trust, please do from now onward. Keep the lowest possible inventory and increase the efficiency of your supply chain. Business mostly fails due to wrong financial management; this is the time you may reflect on this and improve your financial efficiency.
Do the pre and post costing properly and review the financial and supply aspects of orders and set your preferences in which orders are suitable for your business. Better you may go order-less to reduce your loss. At this juncture, businesses will fall mainly due to financial indiscipline and mismanagement.
Look for Corona-protected markets
Give careful study on the markets in all directions- horizontal or vertical, in geographically or in a product category. Its true fast fashion is not a basic commodity but still, apparel and textile is. The ‘Corona lifestyle’ may bring new market opportunities. In a quarantined situation, the spending capacity of people will go down.
At the same time sales of online platforms will increase while physical stores are likely to lose business further.
With a careful study on the market, this is the time you may go for necessary innovations in products and manufacturing processes.
Many dream developments which you could not do in your good time (due to priority miss), now you have more time to concentrate there.
As some of the global manufacturing bases like China, Vietnam, and South Korea have been badly hit by Coronavirus; still you would have some spaces in the global market.
But in medium to long run, China will revive and if the market in Europe and the USA do not revive you will need to bring big changes in your product portfolio.
Today we can realize that a business is more sustainable if its raw materials and market are in its control. It is always true an industry like our textile and apparel is very much prone to global or regional shakes. So, a smart businessman will have medium to a long-term plan to reduce the global dependence of his business.
If not full at least for a segment of business should be safe from such parasite business model. Now not only in Bangladesh everybody including the European and the USA all are adopting strategies to become more self-reliant. It is always good to realize that Bangladesh has a very big population and its consumption will always continue to rise.
You may join Bangladesh Textile Today, STB initiative which will help you find a realistic way of transformation amid this crisis.
And also, the country is located in a place, while there is a huge market (population) around it. For the supply of the raw materials, the businesses which add more value addition stages in-house are safer today. However internal integration of businesses in the country will help overcome the situation.
Stress on the transformation scopes
There are always ways to overcome it. Some you like some you may not like. Maybe you are habituated doing business in a comfort zone. The reality today may help you come out from the comfort zone creating new opportunities. We just need to be honest in finding out transformation scopes keeping all eyes open by remaining aware and open.
Bangladesh Textile Today has initiated a project called ‘Setting Transformation Blueprint’ for the textile and apparel industry to help the sector and its businesses to craft the ways to transformation. Today we are in the ‘Maturity to Decline’ stage, if we do not find out a way of transformation, we will not find a path to sustain and grow further.
Transformation means conscious substantial change. It would have been good if you did it in a time of abundance. However, most people do not opt for transformation unless it falls into difficulties. So, better late than never, take the transformation deal. You may join Bangladesh Textile Today, STB initiative which will help you find a realistic way of transformation amid this crisis.