• Shaun Bateman

COVID-19 requires rapid business decision-making

By Chris Smith, Decision Inc. UK

The crisis around COVID-19 means long-term planning has been replaced by a focus on quick tactical scenarios. What will happen in the ‘new normal’ is difficult to predict with decision-makers under pressure to deal with the volume and pace of change. They must, therefore, prioritise short-term planning and get the insights needed to make faster decisions.

To do so, there are several variables to consider.

For example, changes in legislation mean things such as business rates relief, possible VAT holidays, the availability of new kinds of loans, and government support for employee wages are important new tools that can give assistance. Of course, customer behaviour has also changed during the past several months. Many companies are now relying mainly on digital means to engage with service providers while end-users are embracing things like online shopping to minimise travelling.

Organisations themselves are moving to electronic ways of working and transacting with other businesses. Even though this improves turnaround times, more attention must be put on the solutions required to do so effectively. Another consideration is the disruption on transport. Traditional supply chains should be reinvented to better adapt to the uncertainties around logistics both local and international.

Worldwide, there has also been an increase in the number of employees working remotely. This not only requires a different way of managing teams but also brings new requirements to ensure data remains protected. Most home networks are not adequately secured from malicious threats, so organisations must take the required steps to protect remote employee devices especially when they are accessing mission-critical data.

Given all these complexities, managing businesses, and making informed decisions require a different approach than what has come before. With the environment changing on an almost hourly basis, companies must more rapidly understand how this is impacting on their performance. They must be able to develop and execute operational plans within these newly defined requirements.

For this to work, the business must ensure there is clarity across the organisation to deliver the correct execution of these new, short-term plans.

The challenge with conventional planning approaches is that it often focuses on long-term outputs and requires significant time and detail to arrive at a final plan. At Decision Inc. we have designed a Coronavirus Planning approach tailored to the immediate requirements companies are facing. This helps them assess the impact on their business’ performance and finance requirements. Our consulting team works remotely with the finance and operational teams of our customers using leading technology to rapidly develop financial models and scenario models.

Our focus is on:

• Revenue and cost scenario modelling and forecasting.

• Focused planning for working capital and the impact of changes to cash flow.

• Financial statement modelling to facilitate key financing discussions.

• Business unit planning across operational metrics to drive financial outcomes.

• Expense management and optimisation to support cash flow.

• Driver-based planning and modelling.

Using this approach, companies will better be able to understand the priority areas to focus on. They will also be able to make informed short-term tactical decisions that reflect the current realities around cash flow. But more than that, they can run different scenario models across several variables to gauge how best to ensure the company can adapt and survive in these uncertain times.



Lyme Park



South Africa

Retailing SA Favicon Logo