Building resilience to survive and grow - How to be responsive and agile in an uncertain world

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[co-author: Ralph Fernando]

COVID-19 and Brexit, two profound disruptions, have placed new, unprecedented strains on the ability of many companies to flex and respond in uncertain times. These events have highlighted that data analytics alone cannot predict the future in the face of such discontinuities. Without the benefits of forewarning, companies have had to react as new events unfolded. Those with more resilient business models which were designed with a degree of flexibility to adapt and evolve to trends saw the benefit of their investment. However, many companies found that the degree of flexibility they had was insufficient to cope when hit by such unforeseen discontinuities and rapid shifts.

For many years companies have pursued a path to be lean, trying to bring stability through the end to end supply chain and creating business models that delivered a narrow set of outcomes at optimised cost. Market and consumer trends could be followed and accommodated over time with adjustments to products, processes, organisation and production. Data analytics were turned to for predictions of the future, and each year’s strategic planning cycle would see adjustments to suit the evolving competitive landscape.

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