Many organizations that engage in outsourcing, whether that be as a buyer, provider, or consultant, are experiencing significant impacts as a result of COVID-19.
Despite documented and tested Business Continuity Plans, those who rely on a BPO partner for everyday operations are racing to fill gaps in their service delivery model and are suffering the consequences of supply chain disruptions that cannot be easily remedied.
The expansive reach of this virus has increased international lockdowns forcing offshore service delivery centers to close, oftentimes without the ability for employees to work from home. It’s estimated that 50% of India’s $38 billion BPO market has stopped operations due to the nationwide lockdown and inability to transition to a work from home model. If delivery centers stay open in an attempt to meet client needs, they’re often doing so at the expense of their employee’s families. Employees may be forced to make the decision to stay safe at home with their families, or forgo seeing their families for an unknown number of weeks while they report to, and stay at, their place of employment. While the decision to work may secure their wages, it exposes them and those around them to the impacts of the virus; not to mention the emotional toll of not seeing their families for weeks on end.
However, not all is lost. As you build your roadmap to recovery it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the reasons that drove your company to engage with an outsourcing partner(s) from the outset. Regardless of the impact COVID-19 will have on your operation, it’s important to stay calm and intentionally develop a successful path forward.
To help you cut through the chaos and build a clear path forward, we’ve outlined a few areas of focus:
Evaluate the current state of your business.
Determine what problems your business is encountering and how your corporate strategy will evolve in the coming months. Can your current sourcing model support you through further change? What are the future implications if they cannot? Do you see a considerable increase in the cost of operations, supply chain disruptions, a gap in service delivery capability, or a full-stop in critical processes? Understanding where you currently stand and issues you are facing will help to provide a framework for evaluation and help you guard against similar disruptions in the future.
Digitization of the workforce.
In an unprecedented event that closes schools and forces brick and mortar businesses to close, you need an actionable plan to minimize the impact on productivity. The answer may lie in deploying a digital transformation initiative. Modernization through automation will allow your workforce to focus on critical human judgement tasks, while ensuring the foundation of your business experiences very minimal disruption.
Prioritization and selection.
Once you’ve evaluated the current state of your operations, document and share what’s important to you in a post-COVID operating model. While cost will always play a role in any decision, think long and hard about cost being the number one priority. How do risk mitigation and cultural empathy fit into your new strategy? Is it important to have a partner that can maintain operations during any crisis, that can be creative in finding new ways to transition work no matter what the socially accepted norms evolve to and that has a broad reach to hire/recruit/onboard/train new staff?
The coronavirus will change the way consumers interact with your company’s product or services. How are you changing the way you interact with your partners and key stakeholders as a result? Now that your BCP has been tested to the greatest extent, where are you planning to go from here?