If your business has had to change to survive during this pandemic, well done on making the brave move. What’s next for businesses in NZ?

How IFP Group can support you during the COVID-19 pandemic

NZ’s lockdown has created a lot of uncertainty and worry. Businesses just want to get back to normal. Customers want to be able to order their favourite products. If you can send your product, we have packaging options.

There’s a word that all business owners keep hearing; pivot. Businesses that can’t change and adapt to the circumstances are either going to fail, experience significant hardship, or a temporary shut-down.

It could be that you pivot into selling face masks and hand sanitiser. Or, you pivot within your business to make it online-based, safe, and COVID-19 free. If you can sell online and ship remotely, and people want to buy what you’re selling, you’ve got yourself a viable business pivot.

Food manufacturers face huge challenges

One industry particularly hard-hit is the hospitality industry. While their customers still want meals (and a break from cooking), there’s no social contact allowed and plenty of increased worries about hygiene. The entire industry has had to change their operations. Kitchens are small places, needing to maintain social distancing for staff. Going forward for them, will people want to eat in their restaurants? Will seating have to be changed to reflect social distancing norms? Will wait staff have to wash their hands after every plate is delivered?

Some businesses have started producing non-contact delivery of frozen meals, providing essential meals to locked-in people with less ability to cook for themselves. Some are focusing on in-app purchases of coffee or food, which is then available when the customer turns up at the allotted time. Some are simply waiting to see what happens, and if Kiwis will return to restaurants when levels are lifted.

The future, post-COVID

There’s a lot of debate about what business will be like as we emerge from level three. Until the vaccine is available and distributed across the world, businesses will continue to be affected. And this could be 18+ months away. We don’t know how big this event will be, how bad it will be, or how long it will go for. The overall picture is very uncertain. However, there have been some positives to emerge so far.

Many people have enjoyed working from home, and the smaller commute from the lounge to the spare room/ office each day has been enjoyable. However, the presence of a spouse and children at home can be challenging and some are very much looking forward to returning to their workplace.

NZ employers seeing the productivity, flexibility and ease of staff working from home may find their workplaces have more adaptable strategies to allow this, if not all the time, at least some of the time. This also allows for more social distancing when offices open, with some people happy to work from home until the pandemic is over.

As well as staff being online, customers are too. Business are taking advantage of that. For instance, coffee shops have apps so you can order your flat white and have it ready when you arrive to pick it up. Contactless ordering, pickup or delivery are helped using technology. There are also varieties of online payment options like Apple Pay which means no contact even for payment. Is this the new version of a drive-through, where you pull over next to your favourite café each morning and a barista hands you your coffee without you having to exit your car? Or do people enjoy queuing, chatting with staff and customers while they wait?

There are many ways that businesses can adjust to the new normal. Depending on your business this might be:

  • Frequently cleaning your premises, especially EFTPOS terminals/ food counters
  • Protective equipment such as masks, gloves
  • Sanitiser available for staff and customers upon entry
  • Having plenty of options for ordering so customers can avoid going into the premises
  • Split shifts for staff to minimise physical interactions
  • Allowing WFH whenever possible
  • Communicating with suppliers about expected standards and contactless drop-off
  • A more effective website with added functionality

Whatever this looks like for you, the time to act is now; don’t wait for your competitors to overtake you.

Contact us for a range of products

If you’ve got an idea how you can change your business to better survive this situation, and you need some storage solutions, shipping options or some other plastic product altogether, give us a call.  We’d love to help you survive what could be a long period of uncertainty; but also to help you prepare your business for the future.

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