How to ensure business agility in a pandemic

BY: Neil Birch, CEO at Novus Holdings

Business agility is the capability of a business to respond quickly to a changing environment, whether it be internal or external.

Qualities of agile businesses include being adaptive, flexible and creative in your response to change without losing momentum (remaining productive) or vision.

A year ago, none of us would have predicted that we would all be experiencing what is probably the largest global public health crisis of the century. No business could have been adequately prepared for COVID-19 and the devastating health and socio-economic challenges it would bring to the entire world.

Novus logo
Since the start of the pandemic, Novus Holdings closely monitored COVID-19 developments and appointed a Disaster Management team to manage the impact to its business

Business in a time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has drastically changed our personal and business lives and we all have had to adapt extremely quickly. This sudden and urgent need to be completely dynamic in order to survive will most likely persist for the foreseeable future. Over the years, we have proven our agility and resilience as a market leader by adapting to ever-changing economic and industry landscapes, striving to maintain our position of strength.

However, if there was ever a time for us to embrace our business agility, now was the time.

Prioritising safety and risk management

Since the start of the pandemic, we closely monitored the COVID-19 developments and appointed a Disaster Management team to manage the impact to our business, evaluate potential risks and implement necessary measures. With the health, wellness and safety of our employees, customers, suppliers and contractors of utmost importance, we immediately actioned a holistic business continuity plan covering all sites to ensure minimal disruption to production. Across the entire Group, we have rigorously implemented and adapted measures in accordance to Government regulations and guidance to help curb the spread of the virus and to provide a safe working place for our people.

Keeping productive during lockdown

There is no denying that the lockdown period proved to be challenging for everyone and while the impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve worldwide, I commend our Group for the effective execution and adherence to measures during this time.

The initial lockdown period provided the opportunity for the Group to plan and strategise across the business to ensure that we were well prepared to action customer needs during these trying times while producing essential products with limited operational capacity. We continued to meet the demands of our customers throughout the full period.

As we gradually upscaled our work as per the assigned lockdown level and opened operations across the Group, we have remained committed to ensure that all our teams abide by the set regulations and restrictions outlined for each lockdown level, in order to minimise exposure and for all parties to remain safe.

Adaptive work guidelines

With some of our teams across the Group being able to work remotely to keep key functions within the business effective, we developed and continuously adjusted set guidelines to support those operating off-site and allow for effective and adaptive work environments.

We remain committed to ensuring that we provide a safe and productive working environment for all our employees, while continuing to meet the highest of standards as we meticulously update our systems and processes and adjust precautionary measures where required.

Change brings new opportunity

COVID-19 has amplified the need for change as the recession and economic climate are forcing businesses revisit their business models – driving us to revaluate and adapt operations and services.

The virus has forced us to solve exceptionally complex problems and to be innovative in our thinking and implementation and for business to embrace uncertainty. While no one has the answer as to how and when the pandemic will come to an end and what the new normal will look like for us all, our lives have been changed fundamentally. It will require a concerted effort for us as a nation, as citizens, and as a business to recover and pick up the pieces.

Despite the hardship and devastation that COVID-19 has brought to the world, as a future-focused organisation we must continue to look ahead and use the opportunity as a new beginning to evolve our business, continue to stand together and build a better future for us all.

Our core characteristics as an agile business:

· We are resilient: Throughout the Group’s lifespan, we have showcased the ability to recover and learn from challenges and failure. We remain committed to use each experience to improve our operations and service while nurturing a growth mindset.

· We are resourceful and solutions-driven: Our people are our most valuable, inimitable resource and we continue to stand together and collaborate through synergies and efficiencies across our facilities and dedicated teams.

· We are customer-centric: We have always been committed to providing the best personalised service and quality products to our customers.

· We are active and connected: We always listen to our customers and do our best to meet their needs. We are focused on identifying new opportunities and exploring new territories.