Our sixth guest of “Together we will win: the vision of expert retailers to overcome the crisis” is Iñaki Cucarella Pérez, Planning Manager at VIDAL&VIDAL
PEOPLE, TEAM AND STRATEGY
We find ourselves at a moment of great changes and uncertainty. Changes that are here to stay and which define a new era for which we must be prepared. The depth of these changes and how quickly we adapt to them will determine our situation in the future. Getting through this moment as best we can depends on how good we are at tackling the day-to-day.
Talking the current situation, the panorama is getting ever starker. We receive huge volumes of information, data which make us fear the worst for the future of the retail sector: falling sales, overstocks, shop closures, rising unemployment rate…
Most of the population have never lived through anything similar. The last pandemic to devastate the population around the world was in 1918, a time when the economic and social scene was very different from these days. These are times of change and we have to be more alert than ever, we must identify threats constantly to cushion the blow, and we also have to be skillful to recognize the many opportunities also arising constantly.
Once we have taken in all the bleak data reaching us we need to accept the new situation we find ourselves up against right away and work together as efficiently as possible. To begin with, it is important that each organization should know what moment they are at. With regard to the crisis prompted by COVID-19, the great majority of companies are going through four phases:
- initial impact with the activation of the state of alarm and the closure of shops,
- followed by a journey through the wilderness while the state of alarm endures,
- a forthcoming shop reopening where we will try to apply everything planned in the preceding phase to the best of our ability, and
- a final phase of feedback and continuous learning from the different scenarios we are going to encounter.
Now that we have practically got over the first phase of initial impact of the crisis and the closure of shops, when all of us have lovingly nurtured our accounts, especially the cash-flow, I would like to focus on the second phase, the journey through the wilderness, where most of us are at this time.
This second phase is a juncture where we have to take the time to think, to reflect, to look around us and assess our sector, but especially to have a good look at ourselves. To take an analogy with a biographical novel of the company, I would like us to take this situation, not just as a new paragraph, nor even a new chapter. I like to think we are opening a new volume for us to recapitulate, think about who we are, who we want to be and decide how to go about becoming who we want to be while, on top of all this, time is of the essence (reopening is drawing ever closer).
This is the moment to sketch out a strategic plan, it is the moment to redefine our business model. Starting from this, we will flesh out different action plans and a reopening plan. Creating a strategic plan is not a simple task, but with the commitment of workers, we can create a document involving the entire organization and which acts as map and compass at the same time. The idea is to define objectives in the short, medium and long terms, not forgetting the description of measurable indicators which will help us to be sure we are working in the right direction.
Now is the time to recover all those projects we had sitting in a drawer and see how good a fit they are. It is the moment to innovate (develop new applications of technology, explore new sales channels, etc.), it is the moment to see which costs are superfluous and which untouchable, but it is also a moment to be clear about who we are, what our origins are and where we want to get to. It is the moment to reformulate a simple SWOT analysis. Identifying our strengths will give us the option of finding the points we can make shine more brightly by emphasizing them, while recognizing our weaknesses helps us to work on ways to minimize them.
Now is the time to recover all those projects we had sitting in a drawer and see how good a fit they are. It is the moment to innovate.
All organizations have one common strength: their people. Above all else, now is the time for people, it is the time to have faith in our teams and promote talent. A clear definition of the strategy to follow and the objectives set will facilitate day-to-day working and the success of all of us. It is fundamental to handle uncertainty together, to analyse information constantly and be flexible. From this point, applications like those AnalyticAlways offers us let us be much more reactive when it comes to responding with agility, certainty and with the constant support of a team of auditors.
All organizations have one common strength: their people.
Another common aspect which will make us come out stronger from this situation is team spirit. It is proven that when a person feels themselves part of the objectives achieved by an entity for which they work, their performance goes up. This is why questions like the following are fundamental: worker satisfaction and motivation, the sense of belonging, the corporate culture, interdepartmental communication, teamwork and leadership.
We need to identify the people within our teams whose attitude saps team spirit. This is the moment to take them in hand, to make them understand the importance of having a united team, of having a working environment where everyone feels comfortable and committed to the common objectives.
In addition, there are the customers, and for the forthcoming reopening, apart from offering them the utmost in terms of safety and hygiene, we must show them the best of ourselves, identifying with the brand to add value to our product.
I would like to think we are going to learn something from this situation. We cannot forget that we are on a planet where the resources we consume are not unlimited and we have been acting for years as though they were. We must commit ourselves to promoting the use of renewable energies, minimize throwaway containers, value local providers and invest in simple systems to save water and energy. Moreover, the customer in this new era is going to be more receptive to concepts such as sustainability and product traceability. So, we must continue the commitment to enhancing the value and final quality of the product by incorporating a transversal sustainability perspective.
The customer in this new era is going to be more receptive to concepts such as sustainability and product traceability.
In the face of any catastrophe, any crisis, there is always an opportunity. That opportunity is to reinvent ourselves and give of our very best. This is the moment for each of us to make our best version of ourselves gleam and together we will all recast a new era for the world of retail.
Written by: Iñaki Cucarella Pérez (Planning Manager at VIDAL&VIDAL)