How Covid Put the Spotlight on Business Agility & Assured Supply
It’s long been the case that those businesses which survive and thrive, and which prove themselves consistently able to meet the needs of their customers, are those who plan, and who are ready to adjust.
But of course, very few of us might have prepared a business contingency plan with the words ‘Covid’ or ‘Global Pandemic’ as a heading to consider, if the appropriate document had been written prior to the start of 2020.
No wonder, perhaps, that by the end of last year it was being reported that nearly one in five SMEs had lost more than 70% of their monthly income, and that around 2million businesses had opted to adjust their plans and work in new ways in order to conquer in the face of Covid-19*.
Orca found itself similarly determined to pivot plans, namely because we recognised how quickly our retail and trade clients would be expected to access sanitiser and cleaning products in light of the new government messaging.
As a UK manufacturer and bottler, we had also been keeping our eyes on the prospect of what Brexit changes might mean for a broader supply chain, so we were certainly ready to hit the ground running when our pace and professionalism was about to be tested in the most unexpected way.
Doug Cowie, our managing director, explains: “Our manufacturing facilities are such that we were able to prove ourselves extremely resilient and responsive when the pandemic arrived and suddenly there was a surge in requirement for hygiene products. We’ve a number of customers to whom we supply wholesale, but we also deliver a white-label offering, so in both areas our clients were eager to know we could respond at speed – rather than risk their reputation at the coalface with their customers.”
Orca implemented Covid-safe measures rapidly in all its facilities, so that a round-the-clock operation could be brought into play, and that orders could be taken and progressed with no delay.
Throughout this time, customer communication proved key, and Doug is proud of how Orca staff have not only kept the company consistent – but have taken it to a new impressive level even in the midst of a pandemic.
“I could not be more proud of how the staff have dealt with the pressures, and I really feel we’ve introduced all the right technological and communication processes which have enhanced our output, rather than just keep pace,” he says.
“We’re in a situation where we can confidently assure our customers of supply, and that, despite us being in the middle of a global crisis, we as a company are continuing to innovate and are providing more and more sustainable solutions in our range, which reminds our clients and their ‘end user’ that we do care about plastic waste and that we don’t want to contribute to a long term environmental problem.”