The crisis as a driver of change in the production system
During the 90s, the World Wide Web came into our lives, which meant an absolute change in the way we work and relate, both personally and professionally. A new world of opportunity opened before our eyes, the limit of which was what the human genius was capable of imagining. From that moment on, our lives changed completely, with things within our grasp that were recently exclusive to science fiction.
The appearance of social networks and, simultaneously, the new applications and communication tools took all this progress in our relationships and communications with others one step further, bringing us closer to those who are far away and allowing us to be permanently connected with the rest of the world and not only that, but also allowing us to manage all this amount of information in an easy and intuitive way, what was previously reserved land for people of a very high technical level. We have become accustomed to all this and it seems that we have been all our lives with the technological possibilities that we have today, when the reality is that everything is absolutely recent, although we have it so internalized that we do not imagine our day to day without everything. it.
But we come to January 2020, and a threat appears that, when not expected, catches the world completely unprepared and makes us incapable of having anticipated the consequences and taking preventive measures since, although the problem started in Asia and we all had news on this, ignorance for not having faced anything similar in recent times, added to the very heavy bureaucratic machinery that the application of any decision or measure supposes, lead to the result that we are suffering; an absolute blockade of the global economy, with collapse in the main stock markets of the world and with an absolute feeling of doom, lack of resources, lack of solutions, etc.
This crisis, which fortunately will have a short time duration, has brought to light several circumstances that have to make us think and make decisions. On the one hand, having a large amount of information has not prevented us from what was going to happen, so the enormous amount of data we have at our disposal is not being properly managed. On the other hand, and much more relevant still, we have a very important structural problem of rigidity at all levels, both in small companies and independent professionals or freelancers, and at an institutional level.
The 100% face-to-face system is obsolete.
We have to accept that the absolutely face-to-face system to which we are accustomed is not operational, not only because of its economic and temporal cost (absolutely avoidable), but because the rigidity, before circumstances such as the current ones that require extreme flexibility and adaptation, lead us to blocking the system with the inevitable consequences that result from it.
We have the technological tools at our disposal so that future crises, which we will undoubtedly have to face, have less impact on our society. It is not essential that workers engaged in tasks that require a telephone line and a computer must do so within the company’s facilities. The face-to-face work not only has a higher intrinsic cost for the company, which are also generally fixed costs, with which, in the event of an extraordinary drop in production, they will be difficult to reduce and their readjustment will require a certain amount of time. And if this happens at small levels, imagine the enormous logistical and temporal costs of organizing a summit of political leaders for a single day of meeting. With all this I do not mean that the presence is not important at all; However, circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic reveal that it is essential to be flexible and that remotely you can be very efficient and keep the system running at a high percentage. We must not forget that, although this health emergency is going to have a truly short duration, the economic and structural consequences will have a longer temporary stay.
And all this is not only valuable in a period of crisis like the current one, but can help implement work solutions such as family reconciliation for the care of children or the elderly, non-monetary compensation of our workforce, time adjustment to the needs of our clients and all kinds of solutions that we are able to imagine if we are able to remove rigidity from our system.
We must change our mindset.
Considering that the above is valid, the real brake is on ourselves and all the boundaries we put to change. Every day we see with more clarity that the future trend is towards a loss of the concept of property in favor of what are called collaborative economies that, in essence, try to optimize the resources within our reach and to be used at times when they are idle. We coexist with absolute naturalness with applications that allow us to travel in a shared way, use a vehicle for the minutes and kilometers that we really need or have a second home exclusively for the holiday period that we are going to use it, avoiding all the inherent costs that private property of these goods imply, and they are reduced since the operability of the same increases exponentially, therefore, the cost per use is reduced dramatically. However, all this is much more difficult to put into practice when it comes to our companies and human teams.
The key is trust and setting goals.
One of the main barriers when implementing this new way of managing some of our production processes is the mistrust we feel when we have to give up part of what we feel as “control”. Thinking that our teams are not going to perform as we expected or that our databases are not on the server we have at our own headquarters is a cause of stress and of not making any changes. However, we must be realistic and recognize that those who have been at the forefront of the great moments of change that have occurred throughout history have been those who at the time dared to think differently and left the misnamed “zone of comfort ”to take advantage of a disruptive situation. As time goes by, changes are getting faster and not being adapted is not an option. You must be adapted to trends and do it as soon as possible, because time has an increasing impact on opportunity cost. The solution is to trust our own teams and agree on objectives and remunerations that clearly reflect mutual commitment. Simultaneously implement at a structural level the technological tools and procedures that allow us to monitor and comply with the different KPIs that we establish.
If we are able to get out of the “comfort zone” we have at our disposal a huge range of technological solutions that will allow us to be perfectly digitized and have the management tools to optimize the management of our databases and monitor compliance of the objectives, evolution of our forecasts, deviations and everything we consider necessary.
Welcome to “the cloud”.
The cloud is that wonderful virtual space that allows us to take a 180º turn in the management of our company, will allow us to scale our growth and be absolutely flexible in the face of any event that happens, whether expected or not, and will definitely contribute to sustaining costs in technological management, which has an increasing impact on the profit and loss account. All this with an increase in our security against external digital attacks.
It is difficult to list the benefits associated with taking this necessary step in our companies, but we can consider the following as fundamental:
Crisis period: time to think and take advantage of the opportunity.
The moments of crisis like the one we are experiencing today, provide us with an opportunity that we must take advantage of. Being inside home for several days puts at our disposal the most valuable and scarce resource that we currently have; Enough time to think outside the box and reflect deeply on where we are, what are our weaknesses and the related threats, make the appropriate strategic decisions and implement them. This last step is essential, since the decision that is not followed by an action will simply be time consuming. We must transform that expense into a good and fruitful investment that will bring us future benefits, both monetary and non-monetary. We have the opportunity, we know our weaknesses and we are facing a temporary gap where we are all standing, including our competitors.
The moment is now.