It is a testament to the resilience of Filipinos to find opportunity in adversity. Consumption shift has been evident in the past months since the quarantine period started, with more Filipinos finding ways to create an economic activity to adjust to the conditions dictated by the pandemic. From this and the current consumer behavior, we have learned the following to help our businesses thrive post-COVID.
From small households selling home-cooked meals through Facebook and big companies establishing their own online shopping sites, businesses have turned to e-commerce to reach customers. At Hanabishi, we quickly put a system in place once the quarantine period began. In less than two months, our e-commerce facility was up and running through our website, www.myhanabishi.com. We also provided our customers with the option to have their orders delivered or picked up at our warehouse.
Recognizing Your Company’s Strengths and Capabilities
Our business may not be directly about health and safety, but we were able to adjust to the new normal by relying on our strengths and capabilities.
We noticed that more households are making their homes the center of their lives, that they are finding ways to make their lives comfortable. They have started to pursue their passion for the arts, baking, cooking, among others to make their lives less stress-free and more comfortable. Having the best home experience became their goal.
When we learned that interest in baking products has increased, we knew that our baking equipment will be in demand so we made sure that they would be readily available through our website. The same thing goes for our cooking equipment when we noticed how Filipinos have started to bring the Samgyupsal experience to their homes.
We considered all these in reviewing our operating model. We relied on our strength as an appliance manufacturer and boosted our capability to supply what the market demands.
Implementing Short-Term Interventions and Streamlining Non-Core Assets
Cutting costs, securing liquidity, and adjusting production have helped us maintain our operations during this period. Conserving resources can help businesses last longer.
Reinventing value chains must also be considered as the pandemic has greatly disrupted the supply chain of global trade. Businesses must learn to streamline their non-core assets and activities.
Learning to Adapt
As I mentioned before, we saw Filipinos flex their entrepreneurial skills in the past months. We saw them selling their own recipes online, creating new businesses to augment their income. It is inspiring to see how quickly our kababayans adapted to the new normal. Speed and adaptability are the competencies we need during a time of crisis.
Creating a Recovery Plan
Once consumer confidence returns, we must be ready to respond. Have a recovery plan that should be able to address what happens in the pandemic. Re-engineer your business to provide clarity and genuine stability amid the chaos and take time to improve the skills of your people. Our managers should be able to envision our objective. To do this, we business owners must provide them with the necessary knowledge and confidence to further their execution skills.
Recognizing That Recovery Will Be Gradual
There’s no quick-fix solution to the challenges that businesses face today. As the world adapts to the changes brought about by the pandemic, businesses should be mindful of consumer sentiment.
We have learned from past crises that it takes months and years to return to what we deem as the normal way of doing things. Recovery from the 2003 SARS pandemic, the 9/11 attacks, and the 2008 financial crisis took some time, and we can expect the same thing with the COVID situation.
More importantly, we have learned from these crises that we will eventually recover. Getting there may take some time, but we will get there. Our resilience and faith in our abilities and in one another will see us through.
Jasper Ong is the president of Hanabishi, one of the country’s leading appliance brands. He took over the day-to-day business and management of the brand when his parents retired in 2006. He is credited for growing Hanabishi’s sales revenue by 30% year-on-year following its nationwide expansion and introduction of new product lines. He is a graduate of Manufacturing Engineering and Management at De La Salle University.