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Responding to the potential business impacts of COVID-19

In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, global markets are severely disrupted. Businesses are forced to explore innovative solutions to overcome the growing negative implications of this unprecedented crisis.

Due to various quarantine measures imposed by governments around the world, certain industries have been affected much more than others.

As only businesses involved in the value chain of essential commodities are operational, the rest of the industries need to evaluate how they will respond to business unusual. The existing business continuity plans may not be sufficient to address the fast-changing variables presented by COVID-19.

PwC has prepared a list of questions unique to your industry that you can consider to strategically respond to these challenges in these areas:

Customers and revenue

Balance customer care with commercial priorities
  • As consumers are spending time at home, have you considered the impact this will have on your category mix (e.g. home, DIY) and distribution channels (e.g. online)?
  • If you’re an ‘essential’ retailer, how will this affect your store network? Will you need to re-allocate stock and staff resources between local shops, city centres, shopping malls, out-of-town, etc.?
  • Some shoppers will be cautious about their spending and commitments. Are you able to cope with the changing mix in sales with consumers deferring big ticket spend, and prioritising other areas (such as health and wellbeing, home electronics, etc.)? Can you offer flexible credit plans?  



Protect your people and plan your workforce
  • Have you identified key workers within your company (if any) and ensured they are the only people travelling to workplaces?
  • Can you flex key worker staffing and roles according to demand, and redeploying staff as needed? Are you able to lend workers to support essential areas elsewhere?
  • How will you deal with potential staff shortages in high demand areas (e.g. home delivery)? 


Operations and supply chain

Maintain business continuity and protect your supply chain
  • Given there has been a channel shift towards online, have you considered any potential limitation in your logistics and distribution capabilities, including transportation capacity, delivery timeliness and last mile delivery providers? What plans do you have to avoid online sales being impacted by any of these limitations (including  closure of warehouses, distribution centres, etc.)?
  • Does your online platform have the right infrastructure in place to allow for a significant increase in transaction volume?
  • Will you be able to accommodate a potential increase in the level of returns? How will you deal with goods to be returned to / from countries with travel restrictions?




Communications strategy

Provide clarity to employees and stakeholders and enable business continuity
  • Do you have a clear company-wide communication strategy that can reach all workers: from those based in distribution centres and factories to head office and sales staff? Have you contacted relevant unions to negotiate and agree a clear plan for staff?
  • Given some businesses are shutting online, what is your position and have you got the right communications with staff and shoppers?
  • Are you using communication effectively to enhance customer trust in your health and safety policies, measures to handle the crisis, transparency around your supply chain, and ways you are supporting the community and any ways of assisting vulnerable people, key workers and the NHS? 




Focus on data

Gain insight and assess your exposure to risk
  • Are you making the most of your data to analyse customer behaviour, including what shoppers are buying, their basket sizes, etc. and are you tailoring your product buying / replenishment accordingly?
  • Are you able to put measures in place that are compliant with GDPR / customer permissions?
  • Do you have the right data analytics tools in place that provide real-time views on stock availability across different locations and geographies to help identify potential out-of-stock products? Are you able to use this data to systematically implement replenishments to avoid inventory build up?  




Head office functions

Join up efforts on a cross-functional basis to ensure business continuity and resilience
  • Have you applied for government support, such as tax deferrals, business interruption loans (if a SME), the CCFF scheme (for some larger organisations) and sector specific grants?If applying for a business interruption loan, have you re-applied following the government’s revamping of the scheme or checked if you are now eligible, as the criteria has changed?
  • Do you have teams in place to handle crisis response to live issues, such as a short term stop on discretionary spending, and look at the future operating model?
  • When evaluating your cost base, can you flex any variable costs, such as advertising, or reduce any fixed costs?  




This is a partial list. Get the complete guidelines by clicking the button below.

Contact us

Mary Jade T.  Roxas-Divinagracia, CFA, CVA

Mary Jade T. Roxas-Divinagracia, CFA, CVA

Deals and Corporate Finance Managing Partner

Tel: +63 (2) 8845 2728

Anna Marie G. Ordoñez

Anna Marie G. Ordoñez

Deals and Corporate Finance Partner

Tel: +63 (2) 8845 2728

Catherine H. Lipana-Gomez

Catherine H. Lipana-Gomez

Deals and Corporate Finance Partner

Tel: +63 (2) 8845 2728

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