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Pandemic is a test of ‘disaster readiness’ of companies: IFS

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The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging on, threatening businesses as well as economies as it has brought unprecedented challenges that the world must grapple with, in the coming years. Further the pandemic brought with it the need for organisations to re-look at business models for business continuity, safeguard employees and ensure products and services are delivered to customers, says Shiraz Lye, Managing Director/ Vice President Sales, IFS South Asia,

Elaborating on the topic he says, “Our customers were able to see a snapshot view of operations right from their homes when lockdowns were imposed. Based on such information, customers were able to plan in the new normal without disruptions and subsequently realign and execute go-to-market strategies”.

“Agility is an essential catalyst for business transformation. It allows an enterprise to embrace market and operational changes—and realize new opportunities when faced with unforeseen challenges. Companies that have invested in agile enterprise software are in a much better position to manoeuvre challenging situations like this.”

Serving Customers against all odds

“When the lockdowns were imposed, customer-facing teams, predominantly sales and consulting, were called upon to pay special attention to customers in order to help them sustain their business. With that in mind, IFS continued its operations during the pandemic with a well-planned work from home (WFH) model. Certain customers wanted to slow down operations while others needed to accelerate their projects, so it was a matter of identifying the customer’s requirement and repositioning the projects accordingly. With a high-spirited WFH team, we were able to continue our go-live projects and sign new deals despite the challenging market conditions”.

 

IFS Runs IFS

“The company had already implemented its own ERP solution across the entire business, thereby connecting regional teams to a single version of the truth across its 50 plus offices worldwide. By unifying the business on a central platform, all front-line and back-office staff were able to continue operations, giving management full visibility of the entire business operations and enabling quick and well-informed decision making. This was one of the key enablers of the WFH model globally”.

 

Adapting to a new reality

“Companies also need to frame a near-term strategy that prepares businesses for recovery. The near-term moves are mostly tactical improvements that allow a company to operate better in the current landscape by tackling certain challenges head on. The imperatives include:

Digital Supply Chains—Companies need real-time visibility to better manage supply chains. This will allow them, for example, to incorporate weather patterns, port delays, and supplier issues into their decisions, and to take immediate action. Because of social distancing requirements, they also need to run operations and supply chains with fewer workers and reconfigure warehouses and warehouse management systems”.

 

Digital Finance, Procurement, and HR Functions

“Companies need advanced automation that enables employees to operate from home. For example, a supplier would be able to submit an invoice online which would go through the standard approval process and get paid for an item that had been procured, without the hassle of physically delivering invoices to the premises”.

 

Consumer and Go-to-Market Trends

“Companies need to cope with an explosion of consumer data as consumption patterns change. They need to be able to adapt to the changing volumes of orders, realign production lines and be able to produce goods in demand arising due to the crisis”.

 

 

Open, Collaborative Ecosystems

“Companies need to collaborate digitally with suppliers, for example, to forecast demand for future orders or even look at replacing offshore vendors that have been cut off from transportation”.

 

Operational Visibility

“Enterprise software can help address all these business challenges as it provides companies real-time transparency with respect to sales, operational costs, inventory, production, and financials. Powerful data-driven analytics enables more agile decisions, such as adjustments to the supply chain to improve resilience”.

“Companies need to frame a long-term strategy to win in the new environment that emerges after the pandemic. Businesses should cut out the complexity arising from traditional processes and embrace technology as an enabler for future growth. Enterprise software should be looked at as an investment in creating business that are future ready, enabling organization-wide collaboration, simplified business processes, and real-time visibility of business operations”, Shiraz says.



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Business

DFCC Bank facilitates the continued growth of Sri Lankan SMEs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

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The unprecedented surfacing of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting scar on the global population and economy. With no precise warning on the horizon, businesses everywhere were thrown into the deep end, and survival seemed uncertain during the peak of the pandemic. In Sri Lanka, a nation where SMEs form the integral backbone of the economy, the ill effects have been taking a heavy toll on businesses both fiscally and mentally.

However, we as Sri Lankans are resilient at our core, and with the integral support of frontline workers, officials, and essential services such as our banking partners, we set forth on a journey to assess, adapt and survive. One such story about perseverance through a valuable relationship comes from K.S.K. Menan of Star Food Store (Pvt) Ltd, and his trusted banking partner, DFCC Bank.

Emerging from humble beginnings, Menan’s story is one that inspires patriotism, and reaffirms the importance of giving back to your motherland. As a self-made entrepreneur, Menan was successfully engaged with the departmental store industry in the United Kingdom, when one day, he decided to leave everything there and come back to his home, Sri Lanka. He was on a mission to give back to the country that had given him so much, and that led to the birth of ‘Star Food Store’ in Kokkuvil, a supermarket equipped with all the necessary household essentials. DFCC Bank had been by his side throughout the entire journey until the opening of his outlet, and even more when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“When Imoved back to Sri Lanka in 2016, the very first account I opened was with DFCC Bank, and with their support, I was able to open the first‘Star Food Store’ in November 2019. However, when COVID-19 struck, everything came to halt. When restrictions were relaxed, I faced multiple problems with bringing things back to how they were. DFCC Bank stepped in and gave me overdraft facilities, helped clear my cheques, and provided additional funds at a low interest rate”.

Today, Menan has been able to open a second Star Food Store outlet at Achchuveli in August 2020, and a third at Idaikkadu in February 2021. He states that expansion is the last thing most businesses consider during this turbulent time, however, the X factor that has allowed him to do this is his banking partner.

“The confidence an entrepreneur gains with the right banking partner is immeasurable, and I have been able to find that with DFCC Bank. They have always gone out of the way to ensure my venture’s continuity, from sending someone from the branch immediately if there is an issue with the card machine during business hours, or even understanding that loose change is important for a supermarket and sending bags of coins from the Colombo branch for business use. I now have plans of constructing a state-of-the-art shopping complex in Jaffna, and look forward to working with DFCC on this project”.

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Covid-19 third wave fears dampen stock market

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE witnessed a steep decline following worries over the possible outbreak of a  Covid 19 third wave in the country and the continuation of selling pressure for certain stocks in the market, stock market analysts said.

CSE investors worried over 52 new cases being detected in two retail stores at Pamunuwa and at a state bank in Colombo at the end of the April holidays. Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry warned of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, market analysts said.

  Consequently, the All Share Price Index declined by 2.9 percent and S and P SL20 dropped by three percent. Major companies sought after by investors negatively contributed to both indices during the day. According to  market analysts,  these companies  were:  LOLC (27 negative points),  Expolanka (19 negative points), Vallibel One (12 negative points), Hayleys (11 negative points) and JKH (10 negative points).

All Share Price Index went down by 198.39 points and S and P SL20 down by 93.89 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.7 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Ceylon Cold Stores (CIS), which crossed 60000 shares to the tune of Rs. 35.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 594. 

In the retail market, five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were: Browns Investments Rs. 717.6 million (114 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 480 million (9.8 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs. 392 million (five million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 389 million (6.9 million shares traded) and LOLC Rs. 193 million (587,000 shares traded). During the day 197 million share volumes changed hands in 31305 transactions.  

Sri Lanka rupee quoted firmer around 192/194 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Tuesday, while bond yields slightly eased, dealers said. Sri Lanka rupee last closed at 194/198 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Monday. The Central Banks Telegraph Transfer rates stand at 187.93/191.97 levels below the spot rates on Monday.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has come under pressure amid money printing and low-interest rates, despite the worst import controls since the 1970s, observers said.

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SAT launches F5 portfolio to deliver secure digital experiences

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(At left) : Edgar Dias, Regional Vice President of Channels and Partnerships, Asia Pacific, F5. (At right) : Sanjaya Padmaperuma, CEO of SAT.

South Asian Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, announces its appointment to be a distributor for F5 within Sri Lanka and Maldives to deliver secure digital experience to enterprises.

The cutting-edge technology is a portal for delivering applications and data with greater agility, security, availability, performance, and scalability.

F5’s portfolio of automation, security, performance, and insight capabilities empowers customers to create, secure, and operate adaptive applications that reduce costs, improve operations, and better protect users.

“With the increasing necessity for digitalisation in the workspace, now more than ever, organisations need proven solutions to help secure their businesses. Adding F5 to our existing portfolio gives South Asian Technologies, a more omniscient opportunity to equip our partners and customers with best-in-class application security and delivery solutions. As F5 enables adaptive applications, the SAT team is ecstatic at the prospect of securing our clientele with robust security offerings that have a proven history with Fortune 500 companies across the globe,” said Sanjaya Padmaperuma, CEO of SAT.

Every company today is in the digital experience business. In the wake of COVID-19, customer expectations are higher than ever, as the experiences garnered are the primary way that people interact and transact with just about every organisation at present.

F5 helps organisations deliver and secure the premium digital facilities that customers demand by enabling adaptive applications which, like living organisms, will naturally adapt based on their environment – growing, shrinking, defending, and healing themselves.

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