COVID-19 has caused major disruptions globally. This crisis is intensifying and evolving every now and then. At the current state, public healthcare systems of many countries are taking actions to curb foreigners from entering their boundaries.
Undoubtedly, the focus should be on controlling and mitigating the outbreak. However, the economies have been significantly affected. Global financial markets have created fears in many investors about the pandemic. The negative impacts at this juncture have led to many companies facing great challenges. How can enterprises prepare for such crisis and turn it into an opportunity?
We are privileged to have Hadi Rahmad, Chief Commerical Officer of WhatsHalal to share the company’s journey through this virulent period. WhatsHalal is a technology company based in Singapore focusing on the halal industry. We aim to provide a global halal data infrastructure that connects and digitise both the supply chain and certification platform internationally, ultimately providing true traceability and ensuring food security, safety and assurance.
1. Pertaining to COVID-19, what are the impacts on your company?
We are providing an enterprise solution to companies who are the stakeholders in the food supply chain. Since international trading route has stopped and restriction of movements are in place in numerous countries, the F&B businesses are the first to be hit. Showcasing our enterprise solutions to them when they are fighting to survive the impact of COVID-1 does not make sense.
Growth is expected to be slow in the coming months as majority of our clients in the F&B industry are being hit. This includes businesses across the supply chain from manufacturers to the next street stall. Businesses are spending much less, limiting expenses to necessities to stay afloat and tide through this trying period.
However, we are not suspending business. We will continue to gain traction through new opportunities arising and to improve our internal capabilities such as technology and processes.
2. What will be your suggestions for the other businesses to tide through this challenging period? What are the measures adopted by your company to mitigate the impacts caused by the pandemic?
For WhatsHalal, we have activated Business Continuity Plan (BCP) since early February soon after the DORSCON Orange to ensure our operations continue to run smoothly.
Internally we are using this period to quickly enhance our business operations and process flow. Operationally, we are working much leaner now to maximise cash flow. On the technological front, this period is the best for us to work on enhancing our product solutions and their features.
1) Now is the time to activate the “cockroach” mode for businesses, surviving through any environment by adapting.
2) To conserve resources and minimise cash outflow to tide through the period.
3) Build inner capabilities and competencies within the company and teams.
4) Be ready to be the first one through the door once the dust settles.
Community Project: WhatsHalal is also launching a community project, GeylangBazaar.com, a platform that is simple and affordable for the community businesses to have an ecommerce presence without the frills associated with it.
Many businesses that were slow or have not shifted their operations online will struggle through this period. This platform is a solution to help those that do not have the technological teams to build a similar platform for their business.
Being a Free-to-List platform, all payments, hosting, security and platform is managed, and costs borne by WhatsHalal. Only a minimal transaction fee on our platform is applicable for every purchase.
3. How long will it take to resume as normal?
It is anyone’s guess right now as there are reports of the new strains of COVID popping up around the world. But we believe the world community can see the light at the end of the tunnel in early Quarter 2021, with economy picking up by end 2021.
COVID caught the world community off guard and most countries cannot curb the contagious spread of the virus, and the discovery of vaccines are still in the infancy stage. Most industries are suffering heavily as consumers are forced to change their lifestyles and habits.
The confidence of the economy will only be back 1-2 years after COVID-19 loosen its grip on the economy and people and businesses fully adapt to the changed preferences of consumers.
The landscape of the food supply chain may be different soon after we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. Our team is planning for all possible scenarios how this can be played out and we are preparing for all possible outcomes and business plans to cater to the new shift.
4. There will be opportunities in a crisis. What and how are the opportunities to be identified in this case?
The number of opportunities are dependent on each individual companies capabilities and resources. For WhatsHalal, here are some opportunities we have identified. These are opportunities not just to tide through the crisis, but to bring the business even further after the crisis.
Implementing this list of opportunities allows us to stand above the crowd and to be the first mover to influence the market once new patterns and new buying habits that emerge during and after COVID-19.
4) Work from Home (WFH)
5) Boosting Internal Competencies
6) Streamline business and process flows
The success of the companies is dependent on those who can cash in on COVID-19, making use of what is presented and to solve the problems. Businesses solve problems, thus they must prove they can solve the current issues in order to continue offering the solutions they have for the market.
About BlackStorm Consulting
BlackStorm Consulting (http://blackstormco.asia) is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and manufacturing.
Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.