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Realign, Reimagine, Reconnect: How COVID-19 is Making Us Re-evaluate

04/14/2020 By

While our lives and the way we work have been upended in recent weeks by the COVID-19 outbreak, many of us feel like we’re finally somewhat settling into this new, uncertain normal.

There is no finish line on the horizon for when the coronavirus will be brought under control. However, it is crucial to remain focused on the future by investing in our own knowledge, industry dialogue and professional networks now.


If you’re like me, you have been disappointed to see many of your favorite spring events and conferences canceled or postponed. That’s why at a time when we need solutions and to remain connected more than ever, SIG is excited to bring you our fully online Procurement Technology Summit, from May 11 to 15.

I hope you will join me and our second-to-none lineup of industry experts. They will bring you deep-dive breakouts to position you and your organization for success in an ever-evolving business climate. The Summit also features keynotes and a range of solution experiences to give you practical, actionable ideas you can implement straightaway. If you haven’t yet, secure your registration.


The theme of connections makes me think of another vital consideration for every business today — talent.

Having the best people on your team is critical at the best of times. Facing our new hurdles, having the right talent will now be the difference between if your organization will sink or swim. Do you have innovative problem-solvers or staff paralyzed by the unknown?

While it’s impossible for anyone to completely do “business as usual,” you can make sure you have the proper people to help your business persevere. All leaders should evaluate their workforce and determine whether their employees see this curve ball as an opportunity to knock one out of the park or a haunting uncertainty that will lead to spinning the wheels in place until the rut is too deep to escape.

Procurement’s Burning Platform

Will COVID-19 be our burning platform? Will you be the first one to jump and change the way you are doing business? Or will you be the last one holding the hose and praying for relief? Prepared leaders recognize that the platform is going to burn and are planning how to lead their people to safety and ultimate success.

The savviest won’t be afraid to make monumental changes and will use this time to gain attention to the strategic importance of sourcing and procurement. The same way some people see a burning platform as a doomsday image, others view it as an opportunity to modify our business practices for the better.

Time to Pivot, Not Spin

Have we been trying to emphasize value over just cost? While some change management experts think the burning platform is a recipe for people to do anything to hold onto their old way of working, I don’t think it is that dire of an analogy.

It often takes a seismic event to force people to break free from their “we’ve always done it this way” approach to business.

For example, years ago when the price of a barrel of oil was climbing, companies flew in filets and fine wines to the oil fields. When the price plummeted and the Exxon Valdez spill happened, immediately companies had to reduce costs and risks. The filets and fine wines went by the wayside, but so did all the other “fat” in the system. Typically, it takes an uncomfortable shift in our reality to get people to pivot, and I mean pivot hard, not spin. Spinning comes from fear. Pivoting comes from the knowledge that something has to happen differently than before.

Force Majeure

I wonder if we’re entering a future where force majeure will be so well defined in contracts that no one will accept any risk. While it is evident that some industries are likely to change forever, that change may not always mean loss and negative outcomes. There are victors and losers in every crisis, but it will take some time for us to see which businesses end up wearing the crown and which will never recover.

When I think of an area that has been turned on its head, sole-sourcing comes to mind. Will it become a thing of the past? Since December, many companies have had to answer a chilling wake-up call that their sole-sourcing way of business could possibly be their undoing.

It’s impossible to say where we will be five years from now, but I imagine many factories will decide to use more automation so they aren’t hobbled when their human workforce is sidelined.

Preventing a Next Time

Personally, I think we will recalibrate to automate many areas once this pandemic has passed. As I look for a silver lining, I hope we will learn tremendous lessons from this pandemic that can help us better future-proof our businesses and supply chains. Next time the alarm bell sounds, we should be able to heed the warnings and have personnel and equipment at the appropriate levels from the start.

A global disaster of this size caught all of us off-guard. When the next crisis comes, and we all know that it will sooner or later, we must enact the lessons from this so that next time we’re not thrown for a crushing loop.

We’re all in this together, and I invite you to contribute your viewpoint. Share your thoughts and predictions in SIG’s LinkedIn Group about how you see today’s situation unfolding. The more robust our dialogue is, the better able we are to learn from one another and support each other in navigating this new terrain.

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