The conditional MCO and lifting of business restrictions has seen many SMEs eager to return to business. But customers are still wary of the spectre of COVID-19, and consumer spending is yet to return to pre-MCO levels. Customers are the lifeblood of SMEs and both have to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
On 8 May, a short webinar was conducted by SME Magazine to discuss the implications of returning to work under Malaysia’s new CMCO and the changes we can expect to see among the nation’s SMEs and consumers. Panellists that attended the webinar included Andrew Koh, President & CEO, Canon Malaysia, Edmond Panir Selvam, CEO, Plan C ICT Sdn Bhd, and Vincent Lua, CEO, MyeongDong Topokki.
All three CEOs represent very different business sectors. Thus, each company has handled the implementation of the MCO in fairly different ways.
In the case of MyeongDong Topokki, the company began digitalising in 2019, but progress was slow due to a relatively sparse adoption rate among the Malaysian market. The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent MCO resulted in a huge spike in the use of digital platforms and food delivery apps, thus accelerating the business’ digital efforts.
On the other hand, Mr Selvam explained that Plan C ICT was more-or-less conducting business as usual. While remote working was implemented to some extent, Plan C ICT provides other businesses, especially banks, with valuable tech and digital services which makes them indispensable during the lockdown.
Canon Malaysia managed to anticipate that a lockdown was incoming earlier in the year, thanks to Canon being a worldwide business. As such they were well prepared for the pandemic. Like Plan C ICT, Canon Malaysia was able to maintain some form of operations due to providing invaluable assistance to the essential services throughout Malaysia.
In terms of customers, Mr Lua said that MyeongDong Topokki has begun focusing on cloud kitchens, which are completely independent from the business’ stores. These kitchens receive orders from dedicated digital platforms and apps and deliver their food via third-party delivery services. They have also begun the production of DIY food kits to allow customers to cook their own meals should they choose to.
Canon Malaysia managed to keep a healthy business in regards to printer sales during the MCO. Due to the spike in remote working and home learning, demand for printers increased exponentially, allowing the company to maintain a decent performance on the sales front.
Plan C ICT on the other hand is focusing on opening new call centres to help expedite the customer service process between themselves and their customers. Additionally, the company has plans to launch additional apps and services in the near future to help other businesses digitally.
Viewers were also invited to ask their own questions regarding conducting business during the CMCO as well as adapting to the ‘new normal’.
You can view the entire webinar via the SME Magazine Facebook page, which can be found here.