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Parking the money on consolidation

It is essential to once again concentrate on core strengths and pivot the portfolio, say V Sekhar Reddy and Rahul Duragkar

| | May 12, 2021 | 8:21 pm
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We are not trying to sound dramatic, but the fact is that the world has changed forever. For a while, there are certain key elements that humankind has conveniently sidelined or ignored. Well, it is never late and always a better practice to inculcate the good habits of yore to arrive at a better tomorrow. It is essential to once again begin to concentrate on core strengths and pivot the portfolio. For that, it is important to learn to survive and prepare the mind for a relatively slow path back to recovery and growth.

It is important to understand the new economic growth opportunities and, equally, to take customer-centric views. The wisdom lies in focusing on trust and loyalty – in-house and outwardly – and in placing the money on diversification. Okay, so how can we make the above happen? The first and foremost need is to set up a dedicated senior team in a war room setting.

The dynamics would involve daily CEO informal updates, outlining macro-scenarii and translating to contingency plans, taking hard decisions, and mapping and modelling with time factor – days and not weeks. While structured and strategic leadership action is good, it is equally important to keep a tab on the work being carried out through tracking tools and an agile methodology. Overall, it is important to prepare the mind for setbacks, with no regrets for some of the decisions and actions. It is called fortifying the mind and not losing sight of the bigger picture.

SHORT-, MID- AND LONG -TERM GOALS

The challenges ahead of us might seem formidable, and here, it helps to break the work and the expectations into short-, mid- and long-term goals.

IN THE SHORT TERM

Typically, the short-term goals would be to keep operations afloat for a period up to six months. For this, it is important to align the leadership, the senior team with a wake-up call. It is equally important to comprehend the true severity of the situation and the financial scenario. The road ahead is challenging. In the journey, it is essential to protect the health and safety of employees and customers. It is important to run macro-economic scenarii and do a stress test of profit and loss.

It is crucial to plan smart cost cuts to conserve cash, which would mean inducting a hiring freeze and keeping an eagle’s eye on capex, opex and working capital with the objective of optimising the approach. It is important to consider extreme downside scenarii, outline operational actions and conduct risk analysis.

IN THE MID-TERM

The mid-term is about mitigation, about stabilising operations for a period up to 12 months. It would involve re-budgeting, protecting revenues, implementing cash preservation measures and forecasting the medium-term plan for extreme revenue scenarii.

IN THE LONG TERM

The long term is about focusing on growth in a new normal in a defined period of 12 months from now. This would involve analysing mid-term corrective actions and understanding long-term impact, monitoring forecasted versus actual scenarii, re-booting and re-adjusting, and re[1]budgeting or disinvesting, based on status.

THE WAY FORWARD

It is a good time for stable units to turn around. That said, it is important to assess the impact due to a low-touch economy. It would help to develop a strategy based on a risk matrix. Do ensure to stabilise operations through supply chains, consistent labour support through least disruptions and through encouraging contingency operational plans for all aspects of business. At all times, discourage inactions and focus on employee and environmental welfare. Encourage social interaction and steadfastly emphasise on healthcare.

V Sekhar Reddy is Managing Director, Lexzander; Rahul Duragkar is Managing Director, Emitech Group. They can be reached at vscsreddy@lexzander.com and at rahul@emitechgroup.com, respectively.


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