A Human Perspective – Global Business in the Post COVID-19 World and The New Norm
There is little doubt that our economy will not be the same in the post novel coronavirus world. American businesses long have shown the scars of national trauma: Devastating fires, for example, spawned major factory regulations. World War II hastened the entrance of women into the workforce. September 11th drastically heightened security protocols. Analysts say the novel coronavirus pandemic could push broad societal shifts and human behavior. There will essentially be a “new norm” where new businesses will start, others will thrive, and many will disappear. As human beings in this New Era, this article will identify how the human perspective will influence business and consumer trends.
One of the most apparent human factors consumer impacts from the coronavirus outbreak is a shortage of toilet paper stemming from panic buying originating from video’s that went viral such as this one from Australia.
However, upon a human perspective evaluation, there is a supply chain shortage of toilet paper, not an inventory shortage. Consumers are now buying for their homes as the toilet paper supply in offices, restaurants, airports, hotels, and schools go unused.
Other observed human factor trends are a shortage of Viagra where Pfizer is allegedly at full production capacity of Sildenafil at its Amboise France Facility (Now managed by Fereva). Lastly, figuratively related, in Food Science, packets of yeast are also at shortage levels as homebound bakers now have more time on their hands to take the time required to bake fresh bread.
Lastly, the best performing commodity during this epidemic has been frozen concentrated orange juice rising over 20% (Akin to the 1983 film Trading Places)
The most significant impact economists say will likely be dramatic losses in local retail and dining options, with millions of jobs disappearing as the most prominent and wealthiest companies — especially those that do much of their business online — extend their gains. Giants such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Costco — and the rest of the industry. Companies selling groceries and staples are thriving, while the rest are barely hanging on.
Telework, online education, and streaming video services have grown sharply, while movie theaters, schools, and traditional workplaces close their doors. Some will never reopen in a world where the shift from real to virtual suddenly has gone into overdrive. In the entertainment industry, Universal Pictures announced this week that its animated adventure “Trolls World Tour,” due for release in April, instead will be available for streaming. Such shifts, if they take hold long term, could imperil movie theaters, especially small and independent ones that run on narrow margins based heavily on concession revenue.
Virtually any business practices, such as remote work and the online medical visits or telehealth, which were slow to win widespread adoption because of behavioral inertia, will now speed adoption of such unfamiliar ways of doing business. Any traditional face-to-face encounter — going to an accountant’s office, sending children to class, traveling for a business meeting — will seem less necessary as more remote options become publicly acceptable and widespread.
An economic silver lining will emerge for janitors, child-care workers, grocery store clerks, and servers who will be able to demand higher pay and better working conditions in the post-coronavirus world, some analysts predict. Many have called these workers “heroes” in the crisis.
It’s impossible to say what ripple effects these massive disruptions could cause. One analyst pointed to groceries: When few people opted for home delivery, the scale of the enterprise ensured the costs were high, and availability was low. But as crowds of people opt for delivery, the route drivers will grow denser, and customers will expect everything is dropped off at home. Deliveries of items that were generally in-store purchases — fresh foods, prescription drugs — could usher in new economies of scale.
Businesses dependent on prime real estate and bringing people together could be especially vulnerable as people opt against public gatherings, including shopping at malls. That could have other impacts, too: One analyst said he suspected conspicuous consumption — high fashion, expensive sneakers, sparkling jewelry — might suffer when people “don’t have anywhere to parade.”
Other firms may become winners, too. Blue Apron, the food-delivery service, struggled for months to convince investors that people would pay $60 a box for all of the ingredients they need to make home-cooked meals. But the firm saw its stock price skyrocket more than 500 percent last week amid a flurry of new interest. The company said it is hiring workers at its fulfillment centers in California and New Jersey to meet demand.
But as surgical masks become desperately desired items, schools from Japan to Ireland sit closed, airlines scrap flights, trade shows are canceled, and stock markets plunge, the pandemic seems likely to alter the contours of globalization and human behavior. However, one thing we all can agree is human beings will prevail over the virus. As the Great Winston Churchill said: “If you are going through hell, keep going.”
Frank Orlowski is an accomplished Senior Finance Executive and Board Member with more than 25 years of success in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, contract manufacturing, and healthcare industries. Leveraging extensive experience leading manufacturing, operational, and financial strategies across 35 countries. Frank has also implemented over 30 FCPA Compliance/ Controls Remediation and Certification Programs across 25 countries.