With post-confinement uncertainties coming up following those few weeks spent far from our usual workplaces, many companies are recommending strategies and approaches to adapt to the “new normal”.
See below an excerpt we gathered from major commercial real estate services companies and a few consulting firms.
Cushman & Wakefield developed a “Safe Six” approach highlighting key steps and measures to facilitate employees to come back to work and customers to access safe spaces. (Source: Cushman & Wakefield).
JLL released a similar recommendation, but highlighting the long term impact of the “new normal”, focused on building trust and confidence for people utilizing their workplace. (Source: JLL)
CBRE, another leader in Real Estate Services, developed a detailed guidance for landlords and asset managers, wherever they are in the response-to-recovery process. (Source: CBRE).
Consulting firm McKinsey forecasts that “engineering, construction, and building materials have a vital role to play in a post-pandemic recovery of our communities and economies“. They recommend seven actions to help companies prepare for the next normal.
Full article available here. (Source: McKinsey & Company).
Engineering, Construction and Building companies (ECB) are already taking steps to move beyond the current crisis. Many executive teams are reshaping their strategies and operating procedures, launching ambitious initiatives to come out stronger and spur positive change on the heels of the pandemic. Leaders must proactively reshape their agendas to improve their odds of future success.
The following seven actions can help leaders prepare for the next normal:
Accelerate rollout and adoption of digitization. There is no time to experiment with the perfect road map. Organizations must instead enable well-proven remote use cases. For contractors, this may mean scaling up remotex collaboration at the production stages using a digital model or urging for minimal manning at site offices. Distributors may need to rethink their entire fulfillment model with minimal physical interactions, especially with e-commerce models for which sales teams could work and handle customer contracts, sales, or ordering remotely with digital tools. Engineering consultants might strengthen their BIM capability and other collaboration tools. Finally, building materials manufacturers may need to ensure updated BIM, market access through e-commerce, as well as effective, digitally enabled remote sales.
Invest in the culture and skills needed to operate in the next normal. Balancing performance and health is critical at any point in time—and it’s that much more important in these turbulent times. Industry players must invest proportionately in culture to erode not only risks related to remote work but also apprehension across the workforce regarding job security and productivity. Moreover, there is no better time to upskill the entire workforce and require training on new tools and technologies (such as BIM) and operating procedures. Many of these activities can benefit employees by encouraging greater engagement among one another.
Build a control tower across the portfolio. In a world in which construction prices may come under pressure, companies should use their total size to avoid getting squeezed. Resource allocation will pose a significant challenge for construction in the coming months. It will involve making trade-offs between projects and assets and will rely on accurate progress data across the portfolio. Therefore, companies should establish a central monitoring function that can rapidly identify and respond to resource-allocation needs across the portfolio. In addition to systematic assessment of the parts of the portfolio that may be affected by COVID-19, these capabilities can include real-time transparency on project process, material inventory, subcontractors, services, and costs. Players that have increased transparency across portfolios are much better equipped to optimize sourcing, among other needs.
Bolster supply-chain resilience. Most ECB players have already reviewed their supply chains for vulnerabilities due to the pandemic; they must now look at options for fortification—such as building inventory, identifying backup distribution channels, and recruiting direct labor to replace subcontractors. These could lead to greater consolidation and vertical integration of the value chain not only to minimize risk but also drive future productivity. Indeed, today’s fragmented and multilevel contracting practices often hinder large-scale changes in ways of working, rollout of digital tools, general investments, and R&D.
Redeploy capital and resources. To sustain a post-crisis revival, ECB players must strategize their business priorities. In many cases, responding to COVID-19 could present opportunities to make long-overdue moves. And while aspects will differ across the value chain, they will also likely each contain choices of where to deploy capital, resources, and capabilities (and where not to) in the most economical manner. Examples include reinforcing future high-growth segments by increasing funding and reallocating competencies or sharpening core business focuses by selectively exiting business areas. Given the breadth of such options, an effective execution should consider both organic and inorganic levers.
Identify opportunities to shift work off-site. Suppliers and subcontractors should identify elements and subsystems that can be preassembled in a controlled environment. Longer term, players can look for more significant elements of construction to modularize or build off-site (for example, frames and volumetric modules). Such shifts could help building-materials manufacturers collaborate on designing new product features that could facilitate building-site activities. Furthermore, off-site construction could contribute to sustainability goals by reducing materials waste, noise, and air dust as well as enabling circular building systems.
Get closer to customers. Customer preferences are undergoing a step change—toward online retail, remote working, and more sustainable communities, to name just a few examples. It is not yet clear what other shifts might emerge, but we can assume many of those will likely become engrained and normalized in customer preferences, permanently. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to stay close to current (and future) customers
Priorities for retailers of essential goods and services.
Radically different lifestyles and working patterns caused by self-isolation, social distancing and homeworking mean consumers will prioritize spending on the essentials: food, health, hygiene, household cleaning, as well as online entertainment and exercise services. Some retailers in these essential categories need to meet unprecedented demand that exceeds even holiday levels. For these retailers, the key priorities are:
– Ensure the health and safety of employees in-store, in DCs and those doing last-mile delivery.
– Manage store opening hours to allow for cleaning and sterilization, to protect shoppers and employees.
– Ensure the timely replenishment of essential products on store shelves and rationing volume purchases to ensure provision for all customer groups.
– Meet increased labor requirements to accommodate higher demand for ecommerce, click-and-collect, delivery and DC operations.
– Adopt new digital experiences for consumers by entering into ‘personal contactless’ delivery of goods, either directly to home or for curb-side pickup.
Challenges for retailers of non-essential goods and services
As stores, offices and manufacturing facilities close down across the world to manage the spread of coronavirus, retailers operating in segments like apparel, beauty, luxury goods, and home improvement face different challenges:
– Manage financial impacts of temporary store and office closures (even with offers of government subsidies, in many countries).
– Leverage new connectivity tools and ways of working to support corporate staff working remotely.
– Scale ecommerce operations and switch focus to digital consumers experiences and inventory levels, as consumers turn to online ordering and home delivery.
– Create strategies to manage inventory stuck in closed stores and ports that needs to be moved to make way for next season’s product.
– Adopt scenario planning with value chain partners for global supply chain disruptions likely to impact sourcing, manufacturing, and logistics.