As a business, one has services, infrastructure, products, equipment, and expertise. The question is, when unprecedented events occur, how easy is it to reinvent? Be agile and focused on helping employees and customers?
Global 500 companies around the world are repurposing and utilising their resources, manufacturing lines and expertise during the coronavirus pandemic.
Factories typically making footwear and iPhones have switched over to masks to meet unprecedented demand levels. Fashion brands are sewing face masks and medical gowns - closer to home, Inditex fashion group, which owns the brand we know as Zara in the UAE are utilising their facilities to make hospital gowns.
Perfume brands and the likes of L’Oréal are involved with the hand sanitiser business. L’Oréal through two of its brands: La Roche-Posay is heading the initiative for hospitals, nursing homes, and partner pharmacies, and Garnier is doing the same for its food distribution clients so grocery workers can be protected on the job.
Car companies are shifting production to ventilators. General Motors is working with Ventec Life Systems and Ford with General Electric’s health care division to produce ventilators, reopening their plants in Michigan, to produce the devices beginning the week of April 20 expecting to be able to deliver 1,500 new ventilators by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May, and 50,000 by July.
Large corporations and small brands are collaborating and working in tandem: In Italy, Prada and Gucci are manufacturing masks alongside family-owned facilities like the Everyn Calzaturificio factory, which produces shoes for luxury footwear brands. Luxury groups such as LVMH have committed to securing 40 million surgical masks and FFP2 respirators to help France fight Covid-19.
In Oil and Gas, Shell is diverting resources to produce isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as fast as they can. IPA makes up about half the content of the hand-sanitising liquids being used to keep the virus down around the world.
With work slowing to a trickle across much of the economy due to store and restaurant closures, grounded flights, and supplier delays, top global companies aren’t just motivated to help fight the virus — they also want to keep their teams employed if they can do so safely.
A key to this level of agility is of course the right people in your business that can see opportunities to serve, to prepare for post COVID-19 and can effectively navigate the new normal.