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OPINION: The three Rs are now reality, reassessment and resilience

As we jointly prepare for a ‘new normal,’ we need to recalibrate our strategy – in the short and the long-term

One evening, not too long ago, I went to pick up sushi for dinner. I’d called several hours earlier to order and upon arrival, was told I’d have to wait 10 minutes. No big deal.

While waiting in the “social distancing” lineup, I could hear the restaurant staff on the phone. One caller was given a 90-minute timeframe, which they accepted. A few minutes went by and the individual answering the phone was now indicating to callers “we can’t accept any further orders this evening.”

Like so many people working in business, I physically cringe when I hear people turning away business.

When paying for my order, I expressed to the staff how I felt badly that they had to turn work away; he said that they only had a few people trained to prepare the sushi and no more room at the prep table.

I may have overstepped, but I said, “The rest of the restaurant is vacant – couldn’t a prep table be made of those tables and the wait staff trained to prep food? You may even qualify for a wage subsidy if you keep those employees on the payroll.”

His response: “You know, I’m not sure we really thought of that.”

I’m sure there are many other modifications they could make to their production line to ensure they could fill more orders and that their experience would accentuate the options.

As we jointly prepare for a “new normal,” we need to recalibrate our strategy – in the short and the long-term. Consider:

  • Which of my core business processes need to be changed to increase resilience?
  • Have our people been able to thrive and flourish during the crisis? What needs to be changed to enable them?
  • Has our organization and structure proved effective?
  • Do we need to change the incentives of our people to keep them motivated?

An organization’s operational resilience has the potential to dictate whether it will survive crisis situations. The ability to withstand operational shocks and continue to deliver must be seamlessly integrated into the pursuit of delivery excellence, cost efficiency and operational effectiveness, by:

  • fostering collaborative relationships with critical suppliers;
  • enhancing use of intelligent automation;
  • considering a shift from a role-based to skills-based organizational design;
  • implementing a communication plan and help sites for all employees;
  • establishing e-learnings and a collaboration platform to promote new ways of working; 
  • communicating an employee bonus policy to decrease uncertainty; and
  • resetting incentive payouts to keep sales staff motivated.

I hope that we all reassess our operations to achieve resilience – including my favourite sushi joint!

Laurie Bissonette, FCPA, FCA, is a Partner with KPMG Enterprise™. She can be reached at 705-669-2521 or lbissonette@kpmg.ca.




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