On the 5th of May, SACC held the second webinar for members on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on business and trade. Again, the webinar drew a large audience and the webinar focused on what businesses can do to use this time creatively and to look at their business model, innovate and ride through this crisis with renewed energy and review their business and identify new opportunities.
We were joined by Professor Glenn Wightwick, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Technology Sydney, Jussi Ylinen, President Pacific Region for the Anticimex Group and CEO Flick Anticimex and Johan Nilsson, Business and Strategic Development at Constant Security Services, who generously shared their experience and ideas.
Jussi Ylinen from Flick Anticimex, began the conversation around innovation and crisis management with the importance of calming the organisation when the crisis is a fact. At Flick Anticimex, a crisis management team was set up early on in the crisis to ensure that all areas of the business were reviewed on a daily basis and that the organisation was able to tackle any arising matters swiftly and communicate effectively with both staff as well as customers.
Flick Anticimex’s global footprint has been helpful throughout this crisis as each market has followed what has happened in other markets and therefore been able to meet developments effectively. For example, they learned from their European market that their services previously used for pest control, was effectively re-purposed to disinfect areas as well and quickly they were able to extend their offering to their customers globally.
During this time, when it is not always possible to send out personnel to sites, technology is the solution and it has been widely used in their new offers to their customers. For example, their digitalised rodent service is giving customers the flexibility and ability to monitor areas remotely very effectively.
When a crisis hits, it is easy to get caught in issues management and only focusing on getting through the day but a crisis is also an excellent opportunity to expedite new project plans and spearhead innovation in an organisation.
“We are quite literally forced to innovate and to doing things in new and remarkable ways,” said Professor Glenn Wightwick. At UTS, they welcome thousands of students to its campus every semester to mainly deliver classroom based education. In an extremely short timeframe, they had to completely review its business model and introduced online delivery of their courses. “Within a week we had to turn the business on its head,” he said.
Digital transformation is more or less a necessity for any business these days. Many organisations are recognising this time is an excellent opportunity to invest in skills development and now, when staff is not busy with frontline duties, organisations are expanding the breadth of skills that they will need in the future and embracing technologies such as AI and machine learning. “These six months are important to lay the foundations for digital skills and capabilities in organisations going forward” Professor Wightwick continued.
“The security industry is a reactive industry to start with and it is not the first time we have had to react to a large or problematic situation,” said Johan Nilsson of Constant Security. The new needs for safety and monitoring services that followed the crisis meant that the business needed to quickly react and by applying technology to the process, Constant Security was able to quickly re-train and re-deploy many of their staff.
Constant Security has also looked at how technology was already applied as part of their service and how it could be re-applied to new purposes responding to needs for large scale monitoring of public health.
As an example, drone technology currently used to progressively monitor the body temperature of large audiences at music festivals to prevent drug overdoses. The same technology and methodology can easily be applied to areas with dense people movements to pick up if there are individuals with increased body temperature and possibly developing an illness. Another example is how technology previously used by farmers to distribute pesticides over large areas, now also can be used to disinfect stadiums, shopping centres, car parks, or other large public areas.
This was the second webinar focussing on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and how businesses are navigating their way through this time. Next time, on the 11th of June, the theme for the webinar is a broader perspective looking at what we have learned from the crisis so far and what we will be able to take with us to the future.
By Moderator of the Webinar: Teresia Fors, Vice President of SACC
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