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The 3 Rs of 2020: Musings of a B2B Survivor

Mon, Jan 25, 2021 @ 12:10 PM / by Brian Blood

Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones sign with a beach on backgroundReview

Some will say that 2020 was an absolute dumpster fire, but I say that it was a valuable learning experience. What I saw and learned is companies that lead do so by action, thinking outside the box, and leveraging technology to automate, connect, and transform.  Successful companies didn’t wait for the pandemic to worsen in the spring before they assessed the likely impact, rather they crafted plans to adapt to the coming tide, and flawlessly executed those plans to emerge from round 1 a winner.  Now we’re in the midst of another (and much worse) wave and see that things are going to get worse before they get better.  Are you among the successful companies, now built to withstand this newest onslaught?

Gartner published a recent study, Supply Chain in an Age of Disruption,” that surfaced some astonishing concerns.  Only 21% of respondents considered their supply chains to be resilient, whereas 55% of respondents said their supply chains would be resilient in 2-3 years’ time.  I posit that those same 55% of respondents will not be around 2-3 years from now, because their technology adoption rate is sub-par.

One of our customers moved from handling their EDI in-house to our Managed Services platform earlier this year, allowing their IT team to focus on the transformations required to lead in this pandemic environment.  Projects such as implementing a supply chain visibility tool, moving their ERP to the cloud, and automating transaction flow with more business partners left them well-positioned to lead.  Further, I heard this same customer has just been awarded a grant from the US government to produce syringes for use with the COVID-19 vaccine.  They are one of the lucky ones - or one of the smart ones, as it were.

Reflect

As I reflect on the last year, 2020 was certainly a year unlike any that most of us have ever seen or will ever see again.  Some businesses are thriving while others are simply erased from the landscape.  GraceBlood was well-positioned to outlast the pandemic, a pandemic resulting in millions of people unemployed, many starving, all needing some sort of help.  Thus, we adopted a new social responsibility program during 2020 to give back to those in need, and we’re planning to grow this program further in 2021.

Have you implemented new technology and new processes during this challenging year?  Have you given help where help is needed?  What have you done to lead by example?  “There’s no better time than the present,” has never been more true, because inaction today may mean no chance for action tomorrow.  Just a couple of examples I have seen where companies are leading by example include Mark Cuban reimbursing his employees for buying from local businesses and &Pizza giving free pizzas to its employees and hospital workers.

The beginning of 2021 may actually be worse than 2020, so if you’re a survivor then you still have an opportunity take action, to care for the well-being of your business, your staff, your business partners and your community.  The year may start rough, but the road will become less bumpy as time passes. We now have a vaccine and front line workers and first responders are waiting in lines every day to get their shots before heading to their jobs to put themselves on the line for us. We are grateful for their perseverance and sacrifice.  

Renew

Ahhh 2021! This blog was actually started well before the end of the year and had to be put on the back burner due to an uptick of activity here at GraceBlood.  We hit the ground running in 2021 - not that I'm complaining, mind you. Projects that were previously put on hold or worse, thought to be dead, suddenly have come back to life. We are hiring new staff and taking on projects with new clients around the globe.  The near term looks good but we know we still have a long way to go to get to the other side. 

The point being, we have renewed hope that the world will eventually go back to "normal."  It might be a slightly new normal as changes in the Supply Chain, as well as how companies now do business (is my camera on?) will likely be permanent.  Working remote is no longer a novelty.  And we might always have hand sanitizer in the car moving forward.  Hopefully though, the toilet paper shortage is faaaar behind us.  On that note, I look forward to sharing our mutual successes with you in the coming year.  See you in the fast lane.

Topics: supply chain, B2B, Covid-19, pandemic, corporate social responsibility

Brian Blood

Written by Brian Blood

Brian is the Managing Partner for GraceBlood LLC.

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