These are difficult times for everyone but especially for those who earn their living depending on their businesses which are running low on fumes these days. Those business owners in Service Industry are a bit happier than those in the Manufacturing industry since they need not be physically present to meet the needs of the Customer. Those in the Manufacturing business, are facing trouble getting their workers in the factory and start production and even if they are able to do so there are restrictions from the Government on the % of employees who can work in the factory or an office. So the question is how you, as a business owner can manage all these hurdles; to run the business at least to cover the fixed costs, keep the customers & employees happy and machines running, all of this simultaneously.
The first aspect being Production, the idea is to keep manufacturing but keeping a control on the same depending on the demand in the market or from the customers. If your demand is much more than what you can produce during these times, it would be the best case scenario. Now to do the manufacturing, depending on your process and skill-set requirement, workers need to be planned on a weekly or maybe a monthly basis. It would be best if you have a list of highly efficient workers and employees whom you can use them very carefully to convert their full potential into the business keeping the Government count regulations in mind. It is pertinent to note that adequate safety & precautions needs to be in take in the factory as well as in the office to ensure the safety guidelines are complied with & enable the smooth recovery of business functions. Also it is of great importance that the management themselves visit the factory at least once a week to keep up the morale of the employees.
The second aspect being logistics, where those manufactured goods are to be delivered to the consumers. It would be optimum if you select a particular day of the week when the pick-up vehicles arrive and all the dispatch be ready before that particular day. Strategically grouping the Customer locations would really help to optimally use the logistics cost and also getting pick-up vehicles only once a week basis would be safer for the workers too. This would also help in reducing the overall logistics cost
The third aspect of running the business is the Administrative part where the products sold are to be billed to the Customers and also the money is to be collected. This can be done by staff working from home and the business owners have to exercise good oversight on this process. Since reaching each and every employee physically would not be possible hence electronic means would be necessary to do this. Creating whatsapp groups, weekly update calls with all the employees and a weekly targets to the respective department employees would be of a great support to avoid loading up of pending work.
The fourth aspect of running the business is management control. Management,especially in manufacturing set up is so used to controlling the business by personally overseeing operations, ensuring all are working during office hours, getting updates by meeting people and providing instructions. While this is not the best use of management time even pre-covid times, it is all the more important that the management change their way of controlling in post-covid situation. Management should start controlling operations based on outcomes and results rather than just ensuring that people are really working at home or in factory. Management should define KPIs with clear short term and long term goals to all employees and hold them accountable based on results.
Management should design an effective MIS system in which they can get all operational updates in one place on a daily basis, monitor the KPIs, and take decisions based on the business intelligence generated through dashboards. This will help management gain better control and also avoiding the personal time eing spent currently.
Also, the Management can use the time saved to focus on strategy building, profitability and cash flow improvement, research and innovations, improving customer base etc.
The entire effort has to be driven top-down and thus the belief systems at the top management has to be aligned to ensure that the organisation become more lean, conserve its resources and become more efficient.