Published 19 Jun 20 2 minute read

Recovery to Renewal: adapting systems and processes as business reopens

Covid 19 Reopening 2000x1335 1

Written by Peter Williamson, Operations Director.

As businesses move from the recovery to the renewal phase of the COVID-19 crisis, they will have to change the shape of their business to deal with the new world. Business models will have to change which means processes and systems must change too.

Shifting to deliver-to-consumer (D2C)

Social distancing has driven consumer demand on-line & deliver-to-consumer (D2C) business models are growing. We have seen cases where businesses have gone 100% digital & increased sales by double digits but not finding that they are lacking the capacity to deliver. The smarter businesses have pivoted to a new D2C model and integrated on-line ordering with their ERP fulfilment system, which is essential to providing good customer service and keeping brand loyalty. On-line pricing and stock availability are key enablers to a successful outcome. Businesses must take a holistic view of the impact on the supply chain of moving to a D2C model; for example, space will be required in the warehouse to accommodate the new practices and systems may need new order types.

Social distancing in the workplace

The operational impact of the new world thinking is far-reaching. Social distancing in the workplace will mean a reduction in the number of people allowed in each location which will have an impact on shift patterns, capacity planning, and maintenance schedules. Materials arriving from other locations may have to be quarantined before being used. New documents will need to be created (such as material data safety sheets) and electronically linked to specific transactions for traceability. With fewer people in the office, workflow will become more important for routing and approval of transactions. Business Systems Teams and partners will be busy making changes to capacity planning, plant maintenance and quality control systems. Implementation of Document Management and Workflow will become vital for efficiency.

The supply chain is changing

Supply chains will become shorter with a move away from just-in-time to carrying more safety stock. Companies will re-consider offshoring of key supply chain processes, potentially returning to local suppliers or a least spreading demand across multiple supply sources to manage risk. More visibility in the supply chain will become essential. Product ranges will be rationalised in line with demand. System changes will be needed such as set up alternative supply routes and tighter measurement of supplier performance, improved demand forecasting processes, recalculation of standard costs and prices, improved connectivity tools to enable better supply chain visibility. Business Systems teams are going to be busier than ever before with pressure to move fast.

Workforce downsizing

Social distancing in the workplace will mean a reduction in the number of employees on site, a need for improved Health & Safety Assessments, and a potential reduction in workforce. Changes to payroll will be needed to accommodate frequent HMRC changes. Contactless technology is an increasingly popular tool to keep staff healthy and limit the spread of germs. Human Capital Management systems are vital to automate HR processes such as recruitment, training, employee development, and time and attendance.

The economic crisis will mean some businesses downsizing and some increasing their workforce. The competition for talent will increase. Companies will look to strike the balance between permanent employees, use of contractors and consultants, reskilling and retaining critical employees as well as augmenting roles with digital technology. We are unlikely to return to a world of office-based staff.
The rise of flexible working

Social distancing requirements will mean a blend of home and office working. Employees will no longer be seen primarily by status and role. Instead, they will be viewed in terms of their skillsets; critical thinkers, analysts, project managers, and so on – with an ability to work remotely. Those who can successfully work remotely will be the winners.

Looking ahead

As they move into the new world, C-Level executives are asking questions of their business systems. How did they cope in the crisis? Did they have the digital capability to respond quickly to new requirements? Was it easy to switch to remote working? Did they have all the information about customers, suppliers and employees at their fingertips? Return to shareholders will have to be balanced against social purpose, meaning a change in investment priorities and adjustment in working capital. It’s not too late to get on the right track and invest in up-to-date business applications to protect your businesses against a second wave.

Anthesis can help you prepare to reopen by ensuring your ERP systems and processes are ready, contact us today and we can help you get started. Call us on +44(0)1260 296 530 or email

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