“Never let a serious crisis go to waste”

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    By Garrett Forsythe & Mark Blackwell  Arkaro 

The COVID crisis has impacted many businesses – but can changes in market dynamics present an opportunity for future growth?

We all have heard this quote, and maybe chuckled, but how do we act on it? For many COVID has created challenging market conditions both with disruption on both the demand and supply chain sides. However, as vaccines are being rolled out, we can begin to imagine a world we once recognised returning 

… but will it really be the same?  

  1. Will the marketplace set of customers be the same?   
  2. Will some markets shrink and others expand?
  3. Will your go-to-market plans and product portfolio be the same as before? 

There are good reasons to believe it will not be – and now is the time to design a strategy and align the team on new choices on where you are going and how are you going to get there. Further, “a test and learn” approach is required in this complex environmentrequiring an agile like approach with regular review.  


Will the market be the same?

  • Just like you, your customers will almost certainly be looking at a new world, and will have different needs, and therefore different expectations of suppliers.   
  • And not just your customers. Expect competitors to be taking the opportunity to think the same.  
  • Do you have weaknesses they can exploit? What are you going to do to defend?
  • Do you have strengths you can exploit? What are you going to attack? 

Will your go-to-market plans and product portfolio be the same?

If market needs change then your approach to market needs to adapt, but there may be unexploited opportunities even if the market reverts to its previous dynamics. 

We hear a growing consensus that sales models will change, most likely with companies adopting a hybrid model of remote and face-to-face selling. 

Businesses may be planning to see assets filling again but may be missing an opportunity without revisiting the product line strategy. Do your choices of targeting which products at which markets and customers drive maximal returns when near capacity? And that assumes your assets are the constraint, with continuing supply chain uncertainty, perhaps focus should be given to maximizing returns on a limited raw material?   

Working through these issues may change the market view – but are you aligned with the operations folks? They may be building a supply chain strategy to serve the old portfolio without knowledge of these changes you see, or new expectations from the market for lead times, product wheel execution, and reliability.  New alliances and partnerships might be an option to revisit and consider. 

A cross-functional team approach to strategy development is essential, with Integrated Business Planning to monitor and adapt execution. Sadly, these connections are all too often missed.  Perhaps an opportunity to reflect on how things get done in your business? 

While we may believe an uptick is on the horizon, there is less clarity on the shape of the demand growth .. Z shaped, V-shaped, U-shaped, W-shaped, L-shaped..or whatever… Cross-functional teams can work together on building scenarios to ensure there is robustness in supply chain plans, and finance aware of implications for revenue and working capital.  


"Never let a good crisis go to waste"

Now is a perfect opportunity to ensure your business is fit for the future and come out of the COVID crisis stronger than it was before, but you team may be stretched without too much time to think through these challenges. Arkaro’s experienced consultants can help your team and provide external objectivity and an additional set of eyes to raise up, ask, and process the challenging questions. …

We shall be going deeper into these topics in future articles. Be sure to follow Arkaro on LinkedIn or sign up to our newsletter so that you do not miss out. 

Garrett Forsythe - Independent Business Consultant Arkaro
Garrett Forsythe

Garrett has 40 years of experience in business and operational line leadership and commercial operational improvement execution.  He has led and managed high hazard chemical processes, large capital project teams, global supply chains, marketing and sales teams, global business teams and six sigma improvement teams.  
He is certified as a John Maxwell Team coach and trainer as well as a Six Sigma master black belt.

Garrett is based in Georgia, USA 

Mark Blackwell - independent consultant Arkaro
Mark Blackwell

With over 25 years of experience Mark has global line management and consultancy experience across innovation, product management, marketing, sales and supply chain built on strong analytical capabilities and business acumen.   
A 6 Sigma Black Belt, Mark was internal business consultant and productivity business leader in DuPont covering a range of industries including advanced materials, agriculture & speciality chemicals and nutrition & health. 

Mark is based in the Geneva, Switzerland area.