Global Businesses and COVID-19 Pandemic: Commercial Implications and Likely Ways-out of the Crisis

Global Businesses and COVID-19 pandemic

Who/What are the maximum sufferers due to the COVID-19 outbreak? No doubt, the most affected entity due to the COVID-19 pandemic are humans. Can you think of the 2nd most-affected entity after the inception of this global crisis? They are the global businesses in our perception. No matter whether it’s textile, real estate, travel and tourism, sports and gyms, entertainment, building and construction, education, retail, automotive, food and beverage, and even restaurants, all of them encountered more or less slump in their businesses.

Most of the countries globally are undergoing partial or complete lockdowns. Some of the countries have even imposed a curfew to restrict the movement of the masses at a specific hour of the day. Till now after the invasion of COVID-19, millions of people worldwide lost their jobs. Some companies got compelled to shut down their businesses for a deficit of businesses while others are attempting to survive. Many of the companies allowed their employees to work from home. Thanks to the technology that’s enabling the employees to support their companies virtually.

The key point to note is that every work isn’t possible to be supported virtually. Hence, the companies requiring employees to attend offices physically have slid more as compared to others that can be backed up remotely with telecommuting. Looking at the current critical situation when the economy of every country is declining, the management of all the companies are putting their heads together and trying to get things in perspective.

Let’s highlight the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade and commerce. We will now take a look at the core areas of businesses that got severely affected by this pandemic.

Industrial Manufacturing Slowdown:

Industrial manufacturing slowdown

Due to the lockdowns imposed in most of the countries, the factories are not operating in full swing. Some factories have been completely shut down as a way to maintain social distance and avoid physical contact while others are striving to carry on their productions on a small-scale. Whether they’re textile, furniture, electronics, paint, or even food and beverage factories, all have massively crashed. The current crisis has become an acid test for the owners of the garments as on the one hand, they have to think about the safety of the workers but on the other hand, they have to focus on the productions.

Travel and Tourism Got Hit Hard:

Travel and Tourism got hit hard

This is another major sector that took a hit tremendously due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been advised to quarantine themselves by health experts as a way of their protection as well as to fend off the transmission of the disease. Travelers, as well as tourists, have also no choice but to stay at home. Even if they aspire to wander around the world amid this crisis, they can’t as most of the international flights around the world have been suspended. This has triggered an immense loss to the tourism industry. There are many countries in the world that generate their maximum revenue from the tourism sector annually. Surely, due to the pandemic, they are undergoing a dull period.

Service Industries have Shown Mixed Response:

Service Industries have shown mixed response

Service industries embody banking, communication, aviation, wholesale and retail trade, etc. Wholesale as well as retail trade and aviation industries have seen a collapse in their businesses. Customers are reluctant to go out and spend time and money to snap up the retail and wholesale items and this has led to a drop in their businesses. Likewise, the aviation industry is also having a tough time as flights have been suspended indefinitely in most countries. Some flights may be available for emergency service but passengers are scanty. When it comes to the banking and communication industries, the response has been mixed as these are two sectors that people have to deal with due to extreme necessity.

Price Decline in the Oil Industry:

price decline in the oil industry

Photo Credit: BBC

Coronavirus outbreak hasn’t even spared the petroleum industry as the oil price has seen a drastic fall. The major drawback of the oil industry is that demand for oil is diminishing but the supply is on the rise. This is due to the reduction of economic activity worldwide, making the oil price plunge massively. There are a plethora of products that are produced with materials derived from petroleum including ink, paint, asphalt, kerosene, petrol, diesel, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, insecticide, adhesive, wax, petroleum jelly, etc. As the production of all the products has slowed down, but naturally, the demand for the oil will lessen as well.

Few Industries are On the Rise:

Few industries on the rise

Even amid this critical time, there are few industries like the healthcare companies which have seen a major elevation in their businesses. It’s, however, natural for the healthcare industry to go up in business due to the high number of vulnerability of people by coronavirus globally. No matter whether it’s pharmaceutical companies, diagnostics centers, digital health companies, or clinics, each of them is running its operation in full swing. Many companies and hospitals are providing healthcare support virtually as well. The key point in this regard is that the healthcare companies in this crisis should show a big heart by compromising on their businesses and focusing on patient-care more. There are many hospitals, however, are offering treatments and care complimentarily and at a reduced cost which is surely the need for the current time to save the world.

How can Businesses Overcome the COVID-19 Epidemic?

Business Meeting during Pandemic

As per the EY’s global risk survey, most of the businesses don’t have the ability to cope with the critical period. A large percentage of board members disclosed that their organizations are incapable of fruitfully managing the catastrophic circumstances. This necessitates the companies to take immediate and proactive actions to survive today amid the coronavirus disaster and continuously observe the situation’s development.

The strength and weakness of each company differ and so common tactics to navigate with a disastrous situation like COVID-19 pandemic is stiff. There are, however, some fundamental steps that can be followed to develop an agile crisis-response system. These steps are likely to help combat coronavirus calamity.

Each company should concentrate on building a team of decision-makers who will be responsible for taking crucial decisions in a disaster like COVID-19. The team not necessarily has to encompass people only from the company’s leadership but it can also embody people from other departments of the company including HR, communications, accounts, marketing, etc.

Employees are pivotal members of a company and their safety should be the top priority. During such a crisis, they should be given the rights and privileges to work remotely shaking off their worries of travel if possible. Employees themselves should also maintain hygiene and shirk group gatherings in order to stay secure.

Companies should focus on regular reviewing, amending, and updating of continuity and contingency plan. As today’s critical state is an unprecedented and fluid one, it will keep altering the existing plans and assumptions.

There should be an information delivery system designed that would gather valid and updated information from trusted sources and cascade it to businesses, thereby lessening the chances of delivering misinformation.

Every company should have a mechanism of responding to an emergency that will deal with any critical situation including the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency-response system has to be automated and structured, without any influence of outside factors.

Last but not least, is making sure effective and positive communications with the company’s employees, suppliers, customers, and all those who are directly or indirectly affected by the company’s adversities. This is a vital step when it comes to the hazard-management system by a company.

Currently, we are witnessing that the COVID-19 pandemic is uncontrollable even though people across the globe are trying from their positions to overcome the epidemic. Efforts are in progress to develop vaccines but still, we are uncertain when they will be produced and made public. What’s needed now is a concerted effort instead of individual effort and this is where big businesses can contribute.

Surely, they have to focus highly on the survival of their businesses. They have to figure out the potential opportunities as well as threats and based on that they have to develop a sturdy responsive system. This will surely minimize the losses and enable businesses to function smoothly. But besides focusing on the businesses, they should also think broadly for the greater interest of humanity. Only then, the world can become a better and safe place of living and co-existence.

Shield yourself from the coronavirus infection!