On Wednesday, 16 September 2020, Trust Square launched its new Think Tank with an opening focus on Business Resilience during Pandemics.
The Trust Square Think Tank is a place to initiate cross-industry collaboration. In our technologically advanced and complex environment where no single player has all the answers, innovation often comes from looking at challenges and potential solutions from different perspectives.
The Trust Square Think Tank operates as a focus group for experts from different fields on topics of high business relevance to its community. The objective is for new business leads and partnerships.
While this initiative was planned before the coronavirus outbreak, this pandemic is resulting in a new focus on increasing the resilience of our societies. Accordingly, we launched the Think Tank with a new series looking at some key lessons from this pandemic and proposals on how to make our businesses and supply chains more resilient.
The participants at the launch event came from a variety of sectors and participated in a roundtable discussion.
These are some of the questions we looked at:
What are the key lessons from the recent supply chain experiences for your business, sector, industry?
How do you think the business models in your industry are going to be adjusted?
Which revenue streams do you think are definitely not coming back?
Where do you see the likely new most profitable segments?
Some of the insights that we gained:
Several of the participants had a military background or military experience and drew parallels with the work that the military put into training personnel and building resilient logistical systems.
While we had expected the discussion to focus on IT and tech, a key theme that actually emerged was the human factor: the need to protect one’s employees and address their concerns was viewed as the single most import priority.
No one thought that they required more data in this crisis as they had already invested in data analytics; their key issue was making wise decisions with the data they had. Visibility on the demand side was considered most valuable.
This pandemic has allowed institutions to make strategic shifts: processes that had been discussed for years were suddenly implemented overnight. The vast majority of participants considered this to represent a permanent shift of the needle.
Ensuring the physical transportation of inputs and products was one of the key challenges. Since algorithms had to be circumvented, nurturing relationships with wholesale and large suppliers and cargo carriers were seen as essential to be prioritised. Understanding differences between local regulations was considered a particular challenge.
China and deglobalisation: The majority of participants did not believe that the globalisation trends that were evident before the pandemic, and which are reinforced by digitalisation, would be stopped or reversed in any significant way. Examples cited were rare materials and production requiring long-term investments and learning curves. Whereas it is clear that everywhere governments were encouraging re-shoring efforts, and some of this was happening, it was too insignificant to change the broader sweep of globalisation, they believed.
We discussed the successes of some companies during the pandemic and asked whether this might have been partially due to “luck”, given that a supply chain is just as strong as its weakest link. However, the sentiment was that there was only “earned luck”: resilience was something that had been trained and built long before the pandemic.
The pandemic has already created new markets. For example, older generations of people have now moved online. Another example is how previously low-margin, under-appreciated businesses (e.g. vaccines) suddenly become relevant, high margin niches. This showed how diversification strategies not just based on the current highest-yielding segments paid off for companies in this pandemic.
The event concluded with a networking opportunity on our beautiful rooftop terrace.
Our follow-up Think Tank event takes place on 5 November 2020. Should you wish to apply, please contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org