Europe is still open for business

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In our professional and private lives, we all see the gravity of the current situation. At the same time, we also see some very positive developments, that reinforce the strong believe we have that we can and will overcome this major crisis.

Europe’s factories are producing. People are working from home. Banks are now part of the (temporary) solution, not the problem. Balancing the negative headlines, we’re making the rounds within our network to gather solutions we see and hear from business leaders. Expectedly, these are often very encouraging stories, and we want to share them with you.

Over the past week, we have been gathering information about how our customers are dealing with the corona-crisis. Read our blog on what to do besides reducing costs.

This weekend we understood non-essential factories in Lombardy would temporary close. But until now, many have been functioning at regular production levels. Our colleagues in Lombardy (we’re working with a promising venture there) explained us their factories were still functioning, but under rigorous hygiene conditions. Workstations were being cleaned every hour and the health of the workers and their families are being followed closely. We get similar information from relations in the FMCG business, elsewhere in Europe.

Positive developments

When the dust settles, it might very well be that this crisis is an accelerator for digitization and a reset for global travel. It could transform human resources into a much more strategic role, as well as stakeholder relationship management and productivity. Here’s what we see:

Increased stakeholder focus

  • The attention for hygiene is amazing. Access is restricted to production sites and trucks are thoroughly cleaned before they can enter each site.
  • And if the unions don’t think it’s enough, companies are ordering their managers not to fight the unions, but to WORK TOGETHER to solve concerns.
  • Key concern for HR is absenteeism, not overcapacity (!) again, especially on the workfloor.
  • There’s vertical support by the stronger businesses, thinking strategically about the long term.

Accelerating the digital enterprise

  • The demand for video conferencing is enormous and here to stay. Infrastructure is being reinforced and expanded quickly.
  • IT is (finally) becoming a critical business function. Everyone is getting a crash course in the virtual organization.

Closed borders, supply chains working

  • Borders are closed, but goods are still getting shipped. Despite the recent press coverage supply chains are OK.

The rise of the home office

  • With many people only working 50% or from their home offices, the FMCG sector is still having a recordquarter. This begs the question how necessary various staff functions and managerial roles really are. If any, we should be looking for cost savings here.
  • Travel expenses…..well, a lot of money is currently being saved there. Especially within global companies. And you know what?…All is fine. CFO’s, be ready to cut 2021 travel budgets with 50% and you’re company will still be productive AND contributing to a cleaner planet. We also believe, with staff working from home two or more days per week, car lease budgets will receive increased scrutiny.
  • Not good for jobs, but good for productivity. This crisis also accelerates the thinking about industry 4.0 and robotization, driving further improvements in productivity and competitiveness.

With all this going on, we’re seeing strained relations being remediated, demand being untouched (for now) and expenses going down. While investments in innovations and digitization, are growing, along with productivity.

Therefore, despite short term troubles, we’re bullish on our economy and recovery potential. Do you want to share your thoughts with us, or just looking for a chat or a brainstorming partner in these uncertain times? Please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.

Read our blog on how our customers are experiencing the crisis so far.

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