MANAGING BUSINESS IN THE NEW NORMAL
COVID-19 represents and unprecedented sanitary crisis, that has impacted governments, companies and people and will transform the way we live and work.
For employees, companies and stakeholders, it will generate new needs. Demands for a better health and biosafety protection. Demands for risks anticipation and prevention. Demands for a more sustainable economic system. An entire rethink of global supply chains. The demise of the office. A multitude of ideas underpin the New Normal, with a common thread running through them: unprecedented change.
If the New Normal started in 2020, its full repercussions will not be understood by businesses for some time. How, then to manage the multiple risks and opportunities that are likely to arise over the next few months?
Bureau Veritas supported its clients throughout the lockdown period with dedicated training and webinars, and immediately after, helping businesses reopen thanks to its Restart with BV offer and Safeguard Label.
Today, it is on hand to support businesses as they fully resume operations and adapt to the New Normal with a full range of audits, training and certification services. These solutions can provide a structured way for companies to assess their specific situation and develop comprehensive plans to tackle risks and opportunities.
SHORT-TERM: ALL EYES ON BIOSAFETY AND HEALTH HAZARDS
The most immediate demands the New Normal places on businesses relates to health and safety. Overnight, businesses have had to get to grips with new sanitary challenges, previously only a major concern for hospitals and other medical sites. Bureau Veritas’ Safeguard label helps organizations demonstrate they have followed best practice guidelines to offer a safe customer environment and workplace.
But health and safety in the New Normal doesn’t stop at preventing the most immediate threats to health. Many businesses have transformed their working practices in the past few months. Teleworking has become the norm. Employees are now returning to the office, some after several months at home juggling work with childcare. These shifts in working conditions can create psychological stress, which responsible employers need to address. Traditional health and safety management tends to focus on physical hazards: Bureau Veritas is supporting organizations to go beyond this, with approaches designed to address all types of workplace risk.
Rising concerns: cyber attacks and data security
The lockdown and subsequent rise in home working in many countries in the first part of 2020 coincided with a sharp rise in cyberattacks. This looks set to continue, with many companies reluctant to re-impose office working, at least in the short term.
This put the spotlight on the need for companies to address information security risks. Personal data protection also becomes an issue in a context where employees are using their own devices or accessing new tools.
Bureau Veritas offers a suite of solutions to help organizations understand the fast-evolving world of information security and data privacy. By adopting a rigorous approach to assessing the specific risks they face, developing workable ways to manage those risks and communicating them across the organization, companies can avoid the damage to reputation that comes from data breach or misuse.
Preparing for the next crisis: business continuity
The majority of these short-term actions focus on tackling immediate existential or reputational threats: in short, how to continue and survive. But thriving in the New Normal means looking beyond these immediate risks to rethink business models and take advantages of opportunities.
To be ready for the next crisis and ensure business continuity, companies need to rethink supply chains. If the focus in the past 20 years has been on globalization, the name of the game today is resilience. Now is the time to rework the business continuity plan, integrating the risk of supplier lockdowns and trade disruptions into risk analysis. Bureau Veritas’ training and certification solutions for business continuity help companies minimize revenue loss from disruptions. They can be used to identify areas of risk, implement controls and allocate responsibilities effectively.
More essential than ever: customer satisfaction
The economic impact of the pandemic has forced businesses to be more aggressive against the competition and cut costs to ensure business survival. But cutting headcount represents a risk if companies do not, at the same time, address how they will guarantee the same levels of quality and customer service.
A robust approach to product quality and customer service with a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction, such as that offered by Bureau Veritas, is essential in this difficult period. This needs to be adapted to take account of a business’ new structure, and communicated to all employees.
Sealing long-term reputation: social and environmental sustainability
One of the key themes to have emerged in the post-coronavirus world is the imperative for businesses to find ways to produce more sustainability and demonstrate their social and environmental responsibility. This is a long-term goal, but businesses who start their journey to a more sustainable or circular model now will improve their reputation in the eyes of customers, who are increasingly focused on CSR performance.
Circular+ is Bureau Veritas’ suite of solutions to enable organizations to transition to a more sustainable business model. It ranges from dedicated certification programs to support responsible sourcing (of wood, metals, minerals etc.), to comprehensive solutions that enable companies to move towards a life-cycle approach to environmental management. We also provide customized social audits that help companies tackle thorny supply chain issues relating to working conditions, and digital solutions for supplier risk assessments.
Here for businesses through the New Normal and beyond
What is clear is that the New Normal demands that companies comprehensively rethink their approach to risk. Bureau Veritas’ services enable companies to understand the challenges they face and address them.
Our global network of more than 8,000 auditors is on hand to meet companies’ needs worldwide. This footprint and agility is essential at this difficult time, as it means we can support companies to meet challenges whenever and wherever they arise, and deliver global certification and training programs in the timeframe required by clients.
In doing so, we help companies around the world improve their performance in Quality, Health & Safety, Environment management, Enterprise Risk, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility – today, and lastingly into the future.