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COVID-19: Our Next Moment

Person by person, and locality by locality, we all want to move forward. We can see that depending on one’s specific location, there are certain conditions that have been met or remain to be met in order to create a more thorough response to the COVID crisis.

This is progress. It may be slow and uneven, but it’s progress, nevertheless.

So, what comes next? There is a lot of conjecture, and I don’t plan to guess. I will tell you what I learned from working with Ron Langhelm (A big shot at DHS in national disaster recovery) during the Hurricane Katrina recovery that I believe applies to all disasters.

1. We are in the transition from response to recovery. We are still fighting the problems, but we are also trying to restore critical life and business functions while rebuilding our productive capacity.

Recovery won’t happen quickly. Experience has shown that some elements of recovery can take years.

2. People often experience grief and loss as a result of a disaster. We may encounter others who are working through the “five stages of grief,” as they try to process what they have just been through.

We can expect people to cope with their particular situations, and perhaps not act in the way that they might normally. For all of us, including our customers, staff, suppliers, and family—we just went through this together, but we experienced the crisis as individuals, sometimes entirely isolated from others.

3. Economic effects, due to disrupted supply chains and stunted or oversized demand, are going to be with us for a while. We are seeing the mother of all bullwhip oscillation moments:

( “Waveform” by Jacob Joaquin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

To quote a friend, I think we can expect supply and demand to be “perfectly wrong” for some time. Prices and costs for a host of goods and services are going to be dynamic.

4.The redefinition of working as teams has accelerated to light speed in the last eight weeks. Given the uneven reopening across the globe, we will see a swift evolution of new approaches and techniques.

So, what do these trends mean for us?

1. We can expect some aspects of our professional lives to return to normal quickly, and other parts will take a considerable length of time.

We will see an uneven recovery. Priorities for recovery are being made with limited information, and sometimes a hunch.

Ten years after the war in Bosnia ended, here is what one of their schools looked like:

Here is what one of their hospitals looked like:

These two facilities are only a short distance away from each other. The local decision-makers had to prioritize resources to best suit the needs of the community.

2. Colleagues, friends, family, suppliers, and vendors – they are all trying to process their situation and deal with their emotions.

Keeping perspective on your emotions, as well as those around you, will go a long way towards understanding people, especially when they are not at their best.

Realize this sense of grief that many are sharing and work from a place of professionalism and compassion.

3. Be prepared for some big swings in supply and demand for some time. We will experience local shortages, while at the same time, we will learn of oversupply and messed up distribution. Waste and misallocation will be with us painfully for a while.

Using our forecasting and stocking approaches, we have helped our customers look for opportunities to bring certainty, through reliable supply chains and resilient distribution.

This is especially important for the goods and services that will see a quick recovery. How does a company go from zero to 100% output in days? Some companies will face this exact situation.

4. OSI was an enthusiastic early adopter of using technology to empower staff engagement over a distance.

I am impressed by the many stories of businesses quickly adapting to the need for building a remote workforce. This has occurred at OSI, and I’m particularly pleased with how our staff has responded, serving customers across the U.S. and beyond to Japan, Europe, and South America, serving multiple markets effectively and efficiently. OSI’s customers have not seen disruption in their services, and have regularly made quick, sharp adjustments to their processes that ensure continuity and stability during the crisis.

At the same time, technology doesn’t give you the in-person experience. We have relied on the solid relationships we have built over the years with many of our partners, customers, and friends.

As transportation options become more feasible, we anticipate a rebalanced approach to face-to-face meetings and events while maintaining the benefits of remote work. As good as technology is, it doesn’t replace the human experience we all share when we are together.

Where do you and OSI fit into this discussion?

We have been focused on the response effort for our customers, with good results of limiting their damage and helping find stability and resilience.

Where we have seen opportunities, we have taken advantage of them to help customers increase sales and maintain operations safely. Several of our customers are experiencing record sales. One of them is launching a new product to a very happy market.

Our call to action:

“It is management’s responsibility to make whatever is genuinely in the public good become the enterprise’s own self-interest.”

-Peter Drucker

Now, we need to shift our efforts to focus on recovery. OSI is here to help put things right and help people gain predictable, efficient growth in their businesses and systems.

( “Greensburg 008” by bjmccray is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )​

While people and organizations may struggle or have questions around the next steps to take, OSI is ready to assist at exactly this point, supporting our partners, friends, customers, and colleagues.

OSI staff has proven many times over that we can step in, help find meaningful solutions, and help others realize their goals – scaling with harmony.

OSI is rolling up our collective sleeves to help you with the important business of rebuilding, using innovative business solutions and software to make a difference.

There’s a lot of work to do to rebuild and recover. We are here to help you through this transition and to help you realize the possibilities of tomorrow.

Please let me know if I can help you in any way as we make this shift. Feel free to email or call me anytime: gmader@opensourceintegrators.com or 855-877-2377.

Tenaciously yours,

Greg

About the author:

Greg Mader is the founder and president of Open Source Integrators (OSI), a global leader in open source business consulting and IT services. He’s an Army Veteran and entrepreneur, adept at managing large teams and complex projects, delivered on time and budget. His background includes leading and developing large and small teams, with a focus on communication, mission relevance, and improved deliveries. His expertise spans across strategic planning, project management, ERP, GIS, and other enterprise technologies.

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