Cerius Experts: What does the next 30, 60, 90 days look like for companies?

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Cerius executive experts weigh in on what they think the next 30, 60, and 90 days looks like for companies.

Transcript: Pamela Wasley: Well. Good morning. We have a room today full of experts. Today that we’ll be able to answer some questions that I have to tell you that companies are dying to know the answers to. I mean, this is such unfamiliar territory for companies today, and I really believe that some of the answers and solutions that you guys have around the table are going to help these companies.

So let’s go ahead and get everybody introduced Ticki, we’re going to start with you first if you’ll introduce yourself and then we’ll go around the room.

Ticki Favaroth: First of all, thank you for inviting me to join the call today. I am calling from Texas, so really appreciate it. I’m Ticki Favaroth and I’m actually one of the fractional CHRs that partners with this organization, and I’m super excited to share what I know as well as be a part of the mastermind and take some pieces away with me. So thanks for inviting me. Great. 

Pamela Wasley: Thanks, Ticki. David, let’s go to you. David Brown. 

David Brown: Hi everyone. I’m David Brown. I’m coming to you from Southern California and I’m going to be focused a little bit on the operational aspects of it. I recently entered the, engagement here with this organization and happy to be a part of this group as well.

Pamela Wasley: Great. Thanks so much, Russ. You’re up next. 

Russ Brown: Thanks, Pam. Good morning everyone. My name’s Russ Brown. I’m from the DFW area. I have a background in operations, supply chain, et cetera. So looking forward to being part of the discussion this morning as well. 

Pamela Wasley: Excellent. All right, Jenn. 

Jenn Henrickson: Morning, everybody.  Jenn Henrickson. I’ve got about 20 years in sales and marketing, building sales and marketing teams across technology industries primarily, as well as logistics. and my wheelhouse. Is corporate development, building partnerships that will help drive strategies for my company to grow and meet our objectives.

Pamela Wasley:  Very helpful in the coming months. All right, Fred, 

Fred Ketcho: I’m a multi time. CEO across industry.  and someone who’s, thinking a look at kind of some of the steps that CEOs are going to need to take in terms of transitioning kind of short term, midterm, long-term. And, what that put that picture may look like. 

Pamela Wasley: Great. All right. We’re going to move over to David Berry.  

David Berry:  Hi everybody.  I am also based in Southern California and I’m a fractional CFO serving small to medium sized businesses. Have been associated with Cerius for quite a while that are on a number of projects and look forward to participating today.

Pamela Wasley: And David has been very influential in getting. PPP loans for all of his clients, so he’s the expert in that area. Doug, let’s go over to you. 

Doug Linn: Okay. Good morning, Doug Linn, I’m currently in Las Vegas, I’ve been around the country and around the world a number of times I’ve worked for probably 30 years in operations and human resources. The last 12 years I’ve spent working with multi-nationals. Getting the opportunity to spend a lot of time on culture change and change management in general for M&A to general culture change and putting these changing to work in industry dynamics and so forth. And looking forward to working with the group.

Pamela Wasley: Great. All right, John, last but definitely not least. How are you today? 

John Gilboy: Good. How are you?  Hi everybody. My name’s John Gilroy. I’m also in Southern California.  as opposed to my background, that is probably somewhere else.  You know, my focus is,  mainly in the CIO primarily around domestic and global international organizations on a transformation kind of focus. So probably a timely focus area to be looking at this point, given the current challenges. 

Pamela Wasley: Great. John, let’s go back up to Patty. 

Patty Cox:  Oh. So I am a fractional CMO, management consultant, lead facilitator, adjunct professor,  sort of, many facets, but, primarily in the marketing and brand strategy space. As well as doing a lot of product development work and management consulting. Really excited to be on this call, have enjoyed being on others and look forward to collaborating with everyone.

QUESTION #1 – What does the next 30, 60, 90 days look like for companies?

Pamela Wasley: Excellent. Thanks Patty. So let’s jump right on into these questions. So let’s start with, you know, how are companies going to need to evolve coming out of this Corona virus? I mean, are there models going to change. You know, what do they need to do? It’s such an unknown thing. And in this, this whole crisis is so unfamiliar to people that they’re really questioning.

I mean, all the CEOs that I’ve talked to so far, they’re making decisions, but they’re really not sure what the next 30 60 90 days are going look like so they’re doing the best they can. What can you guys help them with and what kind of advice can you give them. Let’s start with Doug. And the reason I’m starting with Doug is because HR is going to be critical coming out of this Covid-19 crisis.

So, Doug, what do you suggest? 

Doug Linn: Well, you know, I think then the number one issue on everybody’s mind is social distance, and it really is kind of a general subject about having more concern for the personal aspects of their staff. In the past, it’s like we assume people are going to be there,  and most typically it’s a physical environment, but this will probably change the whole way we look at work for those issue for a while.

As far back as I can remember, we’ve talked about the idea of not just outsourcing, but creating more of a consultative approach with a lot of staff, whether they come in and just hire out their services and on an hourly basis and companies can basically put them in as a contractor and not have to think about them as a staff employee and even avoid some of the benefits issue.

But regardless of all the side, the side effects. Number one topic is can people continue to work from home or work remotely? And so companies really have to look at that. And if they say yes, that’s possible. Okay, great. Then that means they need to reorganize how their teams work, how the managers lead, and how they will, most importantly, communicate with their staff.

If they say that we need to come into work still, then of course that’s a whole other issue. And how do you reconfigure your office to accommodate social distances? How do you address the idea of a meeting and collaboration among team members. So it really becomes much more of a virtual workforce than a virtual economy, I think, than it ever did in the past.

So, the other question has to become, if you can do that on a long-term basis, that’s great. But maybe there’s just a transitional thing too. Once the vaccine or a cure is developed for COVID-19 maybe a lot of things go back to the way they used to be.  So it’s something that companies really need to look at and think about as they kind of progressed through this whole transitional phase of coming out of COVID-19 and getting back to work.

Pamela Wasley: Well, I’m hearing a lot of companies say that their employees, some, not all, but some of their employees are really liking working remote. So I think they’re there. I think some companies really are going to make that change. In fact, I was talking to one HR director the other day, and she has been trying to convince the CEO of that company to go remote with some of their workforce. Because it would help them cut their costs. They could hire better talent because they could go where exactly the talent is, rather than just pulling from their local area. So she’s delighted that there’s some people that want to continue to go remote and that she can now pull from talent that is remote. So it has some good things associated with it. 

Ticki Favaroth: Yeah. Pam, can I just add, since we’re on the topic of people,  some of the C- suite executives that we’re partnering with, if I take it a step up,  a lot of them are looking at their business strategies. Some of them went into this with a strategic mindset to innovate or to develop or to grow.

And now they’re taking a step back to determine, from a people perspective is we need to be positioned to help them think about their talent. Be able to use succession planning and assessments to think about the leaders that they have in place and can they pivot and change to get there. How do we do that quickly, as well as what does it mean for org structure spans and layers and all the things that’s associated with how the organization will look forward.

So I do believe there’s that culture component that Doug mentioned. What’s really important to get people back to work. But most of the C-suite leaders were saying, what’s the short-term and long-term headwinds and tailwinds around our structure, our compensation, as well as do we have leaders in place now that our strategy may be changing to pivot, to help us kind of get out of this slump to get back stable, and then back to a more innovative or progressive approach?

Patty Cox: And Ticki. I would add to that too, and we talked about this, I think on another call. The training that’s associated with getting people where they need to be, whether that’s elevating folks to be able to become the leaders that they need to be, whether it’s you had to cut your staff. And so now you have to stretch your resources to do things they hadn’t done before or maybe your business has changed significantly enough that you’re innovating and the talent that you have on staff just isn’t prepared to deal with it. So I think there’s a pretty big component around training, which is a huge investment. It’ll be interesting to see, you know, how that’s handled. 

Pamela Wasley: Totally agree. 

Doug Linn: One quick final thought on that. I was going to save this for the other question, but it’s very relevant in the training and in our selection process or in our succession planning as well.

A lot of times companies tend to promote people based upon their technical abilities. I think it’s much, much more critical now to start looking really at their soft skills and their ability to deal with people than it ever is going to be about technical skills. So it’s taking much in to look at the compensation and what kind of skills do we have.

The companies really need to think about having a technical ladder and a management ladder and make sure people still have a place to go and a way to progress with the company on the technical side, because the management side is going to be a lot different now. It’s going to really be more about addressing people and how they can influence down and look at their personal needs as opposed to just really the technical side and making sure people are productive.

Pamela Wasley: Moving from the HR side. Let’s look at the sales and it and operational perspective. 

Russ Brown: Well, I appreciate the comments, about the people in soft skills. I certainly think that’s utmost in every CEO’s mind right now is how do I take care of my people? How do I take care of their needs?

Whether they’re caring for someone at home or whether they have a parent or grandparent they’re looking out for. How do I take the view of what was normal, as the view of where I want to get back to in the [00:12:00] future and how do I progress in that direction? Making sure I’m managing that appropriately. That transcends all the way down to the shop floor level whether they’re a manufacturing plan or a distribution center.

How do I encompass the social distancing, the PPE, and also making sure that I am communicating proactively to everyone involved. I think that’s going to be the real leveraging point for any back office efficiency improvements or any changes. A lot of change management, as we’ve already talked about, but really focusing on those key aspects.

Pamela Wasley: What about supply chain, Russ? I mean, what are they going to have to evolve to there? Because they, realize the fact that the supply chains that they built up to today are just not working and they may not work in the future. So what should companies do there?

Russ Brown: I think there’s a lot of great learnings going on right now with the Walmarts and the Amazons and others that are, for example, over promising. In other words, giving me a date as a prime member that’s two weeks out, but really beating the date by multiple days and getting me my delivery of my goods.

And while we all accept that today when things gradually moved back to normal, that’s going to be more of a challenge. So supply chains are going to always have to be efficient and effective. And nimble, but from an overall standpoint encompassing this new dynamic of disruption, that’s always going to be with us for the next several months, maybe in the next 18-24 months.

We’re going to have to be understanding of those and we’re going to have to multiple sources. We’re going to have to get creative in what we can do in house versus out outside. We’re going to have to fully leverage the scope and the bandwidth of what’s out there today than in the past. We may not have really considered it, but now we have to open that possibility up 

Patty Cox: And Russ I wonder too, if there’s some thought around supply chain visibility, right? So there’s, issues with current sourcing and thinking about how to source in the future. But the supplier network itself I think is sometimes something we don’t all have visibility into and that’s certainly creating issues right now, right?

Russ Brown: Yeah. I think like many companies out there today, it’s a perpetual work in process about developing, coaching, mentoring your suppliers, and getting everything you can out of them. Changing the metrics on the way we grade our suppliers, the way we look at them and evaluate them is also going to be something that’s going to be up for grabs.

Now as we either incentivize them to do better or to rebuild their reliability in the supply chain, their,  quality of deliveries, et cetera, is all going to have to be redone from an overall standpoint such that those suppliers that we’re going to work with understand, not only do they need to be nimble and efficient but they also need to be able to shift on a moment’s notice, provide different kinds of products, and be their true partner. We’re looking for you to provide that value add, which is going to be looking different three months from now, six months from now. 

Fred Ketcho: And Pam. 

Pamela Wasley: Yep. 

Fred Ketcho: Maybe I can build on what Rusty and Patty are talking about because I’m working with some ownership here in the twin cities that had a business that was really reliant on the quick serve restaurant. So you think about supply chain fulfillment, then how technology is also overlaid as a disruptor in that whole supply chain. And they were typically doing a lot of prefabricated work for McDonald’s and different types of quick serve restaurants. And when you take a look at how this is impacting them, because naturally there’s not a lot of physical building going on. They started looking at pivoting. So the natural thing is maybe I look at where I can take my offering someplace else into an industry or a segment that might be more lucrative, both short term and long term.

But, I guess the point is, that being able to kind of try to predict what the next normal is. If you’re not looking out further and then looking back into where you are today, you’re going to miss some real things that could potentially be happening from a digital disruption standpoint. And in working with this company, I’ve recently done some of that with them. And so not only is pre-post virus impacting your business. But you overlay different types of investors in this broader ecosystem in terms of quick serve and fast serve restaurants. And when you start getting Facebook and former CEO of Uber coming in and setting up ghost kitchens, teaming up with different fulfillment needs, you want to talk about disrupting the supply chain of your typical quick serve restaurant.

And you’re a supplier to that quick-serve space and the physical structures, and now there’s essentially consolidation going on because these kitchens are doing multiple types of brands, food in the centralized locations, and then delivering things automatically through your app. So it takes something as simple as us just driving up to a McDonald’s or Burger King.

If companies aren’t stepping out, they really miss. And, it would be kind of in checkmate very quick. If they’re not thinking about how digital could impact, with their normal flow of business was pre virus. 

Jenn Henrickson: I would build on that a little bit. What Fred is saying, and Russ, around the supply chain, there are a few different channels of supply chain, right?

So there’s the food supply, which the demand has just shifted to grocery and to Russ’ point, a manufacturer having the ability to shift, increase production in one area and reduce it in another is challenging because they have their systems set up and their workflows and those channels and lines.

I think, on the real estate side, I’m hearing, that with real estate construction, real estate investors and land owners are concerned about what they call construction supply chain. And that is the use of labor. Is labor getting ill? If they have to social distance. So you’re getting 50% of the output.

Does it take longer to complete a project or a build? What kind of a window do we think we’re going to have this year to do any building, if at all? I think that would, I think that as a CEO or a leader, I would be really hyper focused on one, being completely transparent with my teams and being honest about the fact that, I don’t know, you know, it is a global pandemic.

We’re all in this together. And nobody knows. We don’t know how this is going to play out. And so I think the key is to remain flexible. I think another thing that’s helpful is I’ve been attending webinars and doing reading in areas outside of my core business. So I hear bits about the economy.

I’m watching what’s happening overseas as they start opening up.  They’ve got six weeks ahead of us that we can be learning from what might work and what might not. And it’s better to just be vulnerable. Just say, I don’t know. We’re all in this together, but we’re going to figure it out.

And be flexible. Another quick point I would say is the current technology. I mean, look at us. We have 12 people on this zoom call, and I had maybe used Zoom twice before. We have all different demographics, age ranges, positions. It’s not like call my assistant to set up a conference for me.

We’ve got to figure this out ourselves. And what’s happening is the consumer, if you’re in CPG or even B2B, the consumer, the buyer is learning how to use technology and digital platforms to get their goods and services in a contactless way. And so there is an opportunity here. Regardless, I think of what your business is.

How can you apply that, those technologies, I think that will continue as we exit this. And I also think it’s going to be a bit of a sluggish to exit this. I think we’re going to be in this kind of funky place for, for maybe another 12 months and then we don’t know what normal is going look like after that. Right.  

Pamela Wasley: Jen, something you said, I just have to really point out. Why are we not looking at Europe, which is coming out of this now, especially Germany is getting back to work. We should be looking at what other countries are doing. China and Korea and Taiwan and some of these others. Let them make the mistakes and you know, let them give you the good ideas as to, what’s the path that you should take rather than trying to figure it out yourself.

So great advice to companies today.  

John Gilboy: I think a couple of things. I think when Russ was talking about the supply chains, I clearly I think that companies are going to focus on reducing risk in the supply chain across the board, right?, I have a great friend who has a huge flooring business and a hundred percent of his products and supply comes from China, right?

He’s in dire straights right now. If he had three suppliers and they were coming from three different countries and their issues and their timing, and, you know, whether it’s this, you issue or it’s something in the future. You know, I think things are going to  happen and having all your eggs in one basket, in any industry, in any type of supply chain, I think people are looking at that very differently now and are going to look at it very differently or maybe more expediently.

I think on the technology side, it’s no different. I think that, if I look from, internal looking out and we say, we’ve got, large offshore development centers all over India, well maybe we need to diversify that and have development centers in two or three other parts of the world where, regional disasters don’t impact us any more than a global disaster.

And, to be able to recover from that. I think more and more companies are clearly going to take that view of the world, moving forward. I think the other thing that struck me when you were talking about it was the opportunity in the supply chain world or the supplier world where companies are seeing this on the technology front, where companies are starting to lean much more quickly to manage services.

And relying on a larger degree of managed services for core, I wouldn’t call them commodity, but for key elements of their, of their business operations that they can’t diversify as easily as a supplier can. And so if we can provide, let’s say on the technology side managed services across five or six key areas of technology services to a business.

And we can do it with a degree of resiliency and volume and capacity that they can’t meet then that has a much different business value proposition to them today, than it did three months ago. We’ve been preaching it for a long time, but, now it’s starting to get just a lot of attention.

Then of course it puts pressure on us. Right. To create and maintain those diverse supply chains and to work with companies to invest in technology infrastructures and capabilities that are going to allow their people to work remotely in a much more capable, effective fashion. Right now many people around the world are jumping on things like zoom and other sort of freeware kind of capabilities that are certainly capable and better than nothing giving this crisis. But I think in the longer term, people are going to look for, leveraging the remote workforce in a way that ensures a much higher degree of security and data privacy.

So, there’ll certainly be, a focus from a technology investment standpoint for companies to look at those issues more carefully and then opportunities from technology suppliers and service providers to deliver those services to remote work and integrated remote workforces.

In a more capable, hardened fashion, and then what we’re making use of today. 

Pamela Wasley: Great advice. Okay. David? From a financial point of view.  

David Berry: A couple of things to share from a financial standpoint, first and, and maybe, most straightforward is, you know, cash is always important and even more so today.

So, especially preserving the cash and the availability that you have to financial resources is critical. And as we know, everybody top to bottom throughout. Every industry is really focused on that right now with all of the federal and many state programs, there are many, many resources that are available.

It can be kind of dizzying to keep track of them all and figure out which ones are going to make sense for, any given business. but you’ve got to find a way, right? Because it’s critical today that companies hold on to preserve as much cash as they can for their, long-term health as well as short-term. It’s going to become even more critical because it’s probably for many businesses and many industries, it’s probably going to become harder to raise money. Right? It’s going to become more expensive. There’s going to be less available. People are who are providing capital, whether it be through debt, equity, any other structures.

There are going to be, risk averse for some really legitimate reasons. And so it’s crucial that you assess your situation today, financially and, have a sense for what your options and your availability and your capability to raise money is going to be in the future. To that end and just building on some things that other people have said, every industry is being impacted in a different way, right?

This is a really unique situation that we’re facing now. And so, and it’s been said by several people. You know, really very few, industries and you have to be really smart and have a really clear crystal ball to know what’s coming. Change is coming, but how much, how deep, how long, you know, nobody knows that.

So, beyond functional disciplines, one of the things that we can do to help businesses is we can help them do scenario planning, right? We can help them gain what some different outcomes might look like, and then develop plans around those. And those plans may be, be very different across the spectrum of possible outcomes.

But the other thing, again, going all the way back to the people aspect of this. It’s not just the CEO needs to be doing game planning and scenario planning in his or her mind, right? You’ve got to bring your management team into that. There’s needs to be some transparency around that because everybody’s going to need to be in a position to charge ahead when the time [00:28:00] comes, when it be starts to become a little clearer.

And so that’s got to be an effort that involves a number of people. And, if it’s really going to have the benefit that it can. And, lastly, what I would say is, I like to think about the future and what’s possible, and there are all kinds of possibilities that are facing us.

And, that’s going to create some real opportunities for people. People, meaning depending on the industry and how you’re positioned in that industry, there’s going to be an opportunity to go after acquisitions too. It’s been mentioned earlier to step into market share you might not have had access to.

How are you going to prepare your business to be able to take advantage of those opportunities? Should you be fortunate enough to be positioned in the right place? That’s going to be crucial. 

Pamela Wasley: Absolutely. In fact. CEO’s, I know they’re there. Some of them are just depressed. I mean, they just, they’re really overcome with what is happening today.

And, you know, one of the things I keep telling them is, look at the opportunities. There’s going to be so many great opportunities out there as we come out of this start looking for them now. And David, you just mentioned it. I mean, one of the things is M&A, it is at a standstill at this second. But the opportunities coming of this crisis is, it’s going to be unbelievable. Partnerships again, I think are going to be great opportunities to look at. So let me get into the next question. So what opportunities and trends do we see coming out of this crisis and where would you tell CEOs to look for those opportunities?

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