When I look back on the last 12 months, I see a substantial number of changes in the requests for solutions we received from our clients. The pandemic deeply affected all manufacturing industries and supply chains, forcing them to quickly rethink their investment strategy. Things happened in a nonlinear progression, with several changes of directions, while companies began to understand how the virus was changing their business and modifying their usual market. Looking back, I can find four main phases: reaction, waiting, planning, and implementing.
The first approach was an emergency reaction trying to put in place all the initiatives necessary to protect their business. The only target was business continuity and workforce protection. Different industry verticals were of course affected differently and reacted differently. Some of them saw their market shrink instantly, while others needed to manage an unplanned and impossible to forecast expansion. Investments were reduced to the minimum necessary to keep the business safe and guarantee production and workers health.
The second phase was a substantial hold of any significant investment, while trying to understand what was going to happen. Many companies realized that the modifications they implemented during the first phase would not go away quickly, but it was not clear how long the emergency was going to last and if/how it was going to change normal activities permanently.
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