How digitalization helps SMEs tackle uncertainty

Aug 31, 2020
  • IT

Running an SME is never a walk in the park. For many companies, the coronavirus pandemic adds whole new levels of uncertainty: from wavering demand and interrupted supply chains to a displaced workforce, stuck at home. Now more than ever, digital transformation can offer the guidance and stability organizations require. 

The impact of COVID-19 on SMEs

According to a note from the OECD, a series of global business surveys conducted between February and June 2020 indicates “severe disruption and concerns” among SMEs. The impact of the pandemic is visible on many fronts, i.e.:

  • Disrupted supply chains: companies that depend on global supply chains have been confronted with sudden interruptions due to lockdown measures. In some sectors, this has caused shortages of raw materials, parts and intermediate goods. 
  • Drops in labor capacity: COVID-19 and the various lockdown and quarantine measures have resulted in reductions in the supply of labor, causing businesses to be understaffed.
  • Unstable demand: the overall sense of uncertainty, paired with loss of income, has manifested itself in a sudden drop in demand in many sectors. For SMEs, the resulting loss of income severely affects their ability to function and threatens their liquidity. At the same time, other sectors are experiencing unforeseen surges in demand – causing companies to play catch-up.
  • Shift to remote working: lockdown measures forced many employees to work from home. Numerous SMEs are now realizing that this sudden shift is having a profound effect on collaboration and requires a new organizational approach.

Digital opportunities for stability and growth

“Faced with these numerous disruptions and uncertainties, SMEs in a wide range of sectors are turning to data-driven solutions to re-instate a sense of stability,” explains Steven Lenaerts, partner at delaware. “This can happen in many ways: exploring digital alternatives to the physical supply chain, improving product quality and reducing scrap, optimizing plant capacity, monitoring employee well-being with AI-powered experience management, getting more accurate demand forecasting, etc.”

“Companies are realizing that the only way forward is by learning how to navigate this uncertainty,”  Thierry Bruyneel, partner at delaware, adds. “What’s more, the disruptions of the past few months have instilled a new sense of urgency: many businesses are actively looking to fast-track their digital transformation projects. They don’t want to be taken by surprise anymore, but explore how digital solutions can help them generate more value, reduce costs and improve worker well-being and productivity today.” 

Uncertain times demand unmatched skills and experience. Get in touch with our experts to set up your digital transformation project with delaware.