Business Transformation for the New Normal

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic appearing to subside and the economy reopening, businesses have to transform to meet the changing needs of the market. Businesses who cling to the old ways will have to transform or be left behind.

Posted by SME & ENTREPRENEURSHIP MAGAZINE on Jumaat, 5 Jun 2020

After weeks of lockdown and restricted movement, businesses are slowly reopening once more. COVID-19 has caused much devastation to economies around the world, but without a doubt, the ones who have suffered the most are the SMEs. With more and more businesses getting back to work, we can expect the economy to get back on track eventually.

However customers are still wary of the spectre of COVID-19, and consumer spending has yet to return to pre-MCO levels. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, the business ecosystem experienced dramatic change for both businesses and the consumer. Even now, many believe that it is unlikely that things will go back to the way they were. A paradigm shift has occurred and businesses will have to transform and adapt to this “new normal” if they want any hope of survival.

On 5 June, a short webinar was conducted by SME Magazine to discuss the implications and difficulty of adapting to the “new normal” as well as the changes we can expect to see moving forward. Panellists that attended the webinar included Alex Lee, CEO of Nu Infinity, Toh Seng Lee, Cuckoo International Chief Customer Officer, CUCKOO, and Joe Sidek, Managing Director, Chemdyes Sdn Bhd.

All three panellists represent very different industries and presented the audience with many different ways each of their companies transformed and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

According to Mr Toh, Cuckoo International immediately implemented a work-from-home policy when the lockdown first began. However, within the first few weeks, they were able to obtain a special permit to allow them to operate at a reduced capacity. As a result, they implemented a roster rotation within the office where 50 percent of their staff worked at the office, while the rest worked from home. Their service staff also adhered to a strict standard operating procedure (SOP) when making visitations to customers for service and maintenance.

As for Nu Infinity, Mr Lee discusses how keeping in contact with clients is a huge part of their business. As such, the company made generous use of e-communications platforms such as Zoom in order to interact and receive feedback from customers. Lee also mentioned how the utilisation of such platforms actually made his company’s teams more effective as such methods allowed them to contact even more clients than usual. While it may not fully replace having a physical meeting with clients, Lee is confident that online meetings will likely persist within the company even after the lockdown ends.

On the other hand, Chemdyes is a product focused company. Mr Sidek explained that their business suffered financially due to a drop in demand. As such, his company focused on transforming their products to meet new demand. Rather than offering industrial chemicals, Chemdyes shifted production towards hygiene chemicals which were in high demand by many businesses as well as hospitals throughout Malaysia and the SEA region. Sidek says it was very fortunate that the company’s production line could easily transition into other, more in-demand products quickly to adapt.

These are just a few of the methods discussed by the panellists regarding adapting to the lockdown and transforming their businesses. Apart from this, the webinar also opened the floor to the audience to ask questions to each individual panellist with regards to adapting to the “new normal”.

You can view the entire webinar via the SME Magazine Facebook page, which can be found here.


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