It is not certain yet if things will go back to the days of old yet.
In fact, I’d hazard a guess and say that some of our forced changes are here to stay and you know, maybe that is a good thing.
I have been working with SME’s for nearly 15 years in Australia and it is fair to say that a number of businesses 1. Shouldn’t be still operating (because they run at a loss), 2. Need to cull their product line because not all of the products actually sell enough to bother importing or manufacturing them. 3. Have needed to reassess their processes and stop double handling for as long as they have been in business. So this forced shutdown, insolvency and rethink of what actually makes money, is not necessarily a bad thing.
However for those businesses that will survive. We know that we will soon start to experience shortages of product that usually ships out of China, our stocks at some point will run out, so what then? What will we substitute those products with (because we will). We are industrious, we find ways around things it is in our nature. So what can we do about that and what will post COVID Australia look like?
One thing I am certain about is that quality will improve as a result of this event. China has been delivering us disposable, second rate cheap products for a number of years and it has not only killed our planet with pollution but it also killed our manufacturing industry in Australia. Now is the time for our revival, its time to support ourselves.
If I hear the word PIVOT one more time though, I might scream. So let’s use a goodie but an oldie that isn’t a buzz word and we all understand it.
The word of the month is “diversification” and it is something every business needs to consider. Can you mix up what you do, can you still run your business at a profit with the same staff from the same place without going broke?
Keeping people employed and keeping our country operating is critical right now, maybe not as necessary as the exact product you have always been manufacturing. So – ask yourself:
What do you make/ offer now?
Is this product or service in demand right now?
What problems are your customers or are people in your territory facing right now?
Can your business solve any of these issues?
This is a little like innovation training and becoming a start-up using think tank sessions. In fact, why not do exactly that. Hold a staff meeting, hold a board meeting and ask the questions. What else can you do?
If you currently manufacture a product that is NOT in demand, what COULD you manufacture that is in demand? Do you have the equipment and staff to make this happen? Could you with a little bit of training or a new piece of equipment? The government are busting their balls to give businesses access to funding, instant asset write-offs, grants and tax breaks. So think outside of the box. It is up to us to get this show back on the road, just a more refined and polished version of Australian Business.
What other skills do you have in-house that you could utilise to diversify? Can you use your nous to think bigger, think forward and project solutions?
Can you move to a repair/service model to supplement your manufacturing? Im sure that we will all need to have our crappy Chinese products repaired soon enough and there won’t be any warranty replacements because they aren’t manufacturing. Think forward.
Right now we have a shortage of masks, PPE equipment, hand sanitiser yes, so 1st port of call – can you make those things or part of those things? Bottles, labels, fabric, components to make those things? Then apply that thinking to other products we will soon run out of. Everything is made form something, all components come from somewhere, can you reinvent our supply chain in Australia? Can you be part of our evolution? I’d say the answer is yes, it’ll just take a bit of hard yakka.
We will soon run short of raw materials, so are you the type of company that can develop new ways to manufacture things like Fridge enclosures, panelling, washing machine drums?
Its time for us to think differently. Its time for us to diversify
Tell me what fulcrum you could initiate in your business (see what I did there – I completely avoided that word -again!) 🙂
Pirouette until your dizzy.
Angie is available to run think tanks, mentoring sessions or even get your whole team in ballet slippers ready to pirouette until your toes hurt. 0422 623 781 or email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org