Business resilience


19th February, 2021

How to develop your business resilience toolkit

2020 has tested business resilience – here’s how your company can bounce back in 2021 and beyond.

2020 was an intense test of business resilience. Businesses that adapted to working from home, shutdowns and changing customer needs have survived – others, unfortunately, have not.

Even without a global pandemic, resilience is an important quality for organisations to develop. In a tough, competitive and rapidly changing marketplace, it’s essential to rebound after setbacks, adapt to changing customer needs and keep moving forward, even when things are difficult.

Building resilience into your business means setting yourself up with the tools to get through times of crisis. If your business is disorganised, under-resourced and just breaking even, you won’t be able to respond to changes in the market – let alone the unique challenges of a global pandemic.

One way to build resilience? Cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. It can help you create a business that’s strong, flexible and ready to face the world.

Change and challenges require business resilience

Although Australia and New Zealand have been lucky enough to avoid many of the worst effects of the virus, we did have lockdowns and restrictions and many businesses are still dealing with the economic fallout.

During New Zealand’s March lockdown, retail spending dropped by a staggering 80 percent. Other sectors were impacted as well – with manufacturing sales falling by 12 percent and wholesale trade sectors experiencing drops. Spending in Australia fell by up to 29 percent in certain sectors, and over a million people lost their jobs.

Restrictive shutdowns meant that many manufacturers and construction businesses were forced to halt production temporarily. Even after returning to work, there were often restrictions on the number of people allowed on the premises, reducing productivity. Worldwide border closures made it more difficult to import or export goods, affecting many sectors.

These impacts have reduced revenue and led to redundancies in many businesses – and industries across Australia and New Zealand are still coping with the ongoing effects.

How well does your business cope in a crisis?

As we look back on an unprecedented year, businesses have a chance to reflect on how well they coped. Even if your business was able to get through relatively unscathed, it’s a good time to review your processes, systems and continuity plans.

Start with:

  • IT and data — accurate data, remote access, efficient workflow tools – does your IT setup include everything your team needs to work?
  • Processes — day-to-day processes should be accessible to all staff, and flexible in times of crisis.
  • Compliance — regulatory requirements are non-negotiable, but the way you do it can change. Can your people find the data they need easily? Can everything be done online?
  • Service — look at how your customer service and complaint channels are set up – can you maintain service levels even if you’re not in the office?

Disconnection and disruption

Many of the businesses that were seriously disrupted by the events of 2020 struggled because they didn’t have appropriate systems set up pre-pandemic. Disconnected software for different teams, a raft of apps rather than a purpose-built system, or old-fashioned paperwork and spreadsheets meant that when people were forced to work from home, they didn’t have access to their work tools.

Without an industry-specific cloud ERP system, businesses also struggled to make the rapid changes needed when COVID hit. Changing product lines, setting up contactless payment, pick-up or delivery systems, applying for subsidies – without access to business data, these things were far more complicated.

Supporting business resilience with cloud ERP

Cloud ERP software may not be the only answer to business resilience, but it is a key tool in your crisis toolkit. By giving you continual access to all your business data, high-level visibility and a single source of truth, it eliminates many of the mistakes and delays caused by disconnected systems.

Because you have access to current data at all times, you can streamline compliance – no more chasing up this month’s numbers or compiling complex spreadsheets.

Finally, having workflow processes and information at your fingertips means you can respond rapidly in a crisis. This could mean sending an emergency update to your client database, tailoring your product orders to meet changing customer demand or making major changes to the way you deliver your services. With an effective ERP system in place, the possibilities are endless.

Responding to new challenges

The end of the pandemic is in sight, but that doesn’t mean business challenges are over. Far from it. Job losses, closed borders and a depressed economy will continue to have an impact for years. The businesses that can adapt to these changes, find new ways to serve clients and deliver the same level of service for less will be the ones that survive in an intensely competitive marketplace.

An integrated system is one way to brace for those post-pandemic challenges and increase your chances of survival. It’s about building flexibility into every part of your business, so you’re ready for whatever happens next.

Find out more about how cloud ERP can help you build business resilience either in Australia, or click here to find out more for businesses in New Zealand.