It Is Not Easy Being Small – Thoughts on the Disruption and Rethinking Business Priorities

The global pandemic has been the source of disruption to business and personal lives for over a year now and businesses have found that, regardless of the challenges they face, business must continue.

With operations and supply chains strained and positive cash flow at a premium, companies everywhere are focusing on the fundamentals while enabling work-from-home and distancing mandates. COVID-19 has, in many ways, become the event that is forcing many businesses (and entire industries!) to rethink how they operate, and to look to transform their global supply chain models.

A fact that can’t be argued with is that the pandemic has exposed where many businesses are vulnerable, being heavily dependent on supplies of raw materials or finished products that are no longer readily available.

What’s also been exposed is the lack of agility in business I.T. infrastructure, as operations struggle to find ways of continuing operations with reduced personnel or users working from various locations and finding that their systems aren’t really helping in those efforts.

“Supporting small manufacturers has probably never been more important that it is now”, said a panelist at the “National Conversation with Manufacturers” session hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP). While larger companies are certainly impacted by what’s happened this year, small manufacturers face the challenge of running a company with a smaller available base of resources, technology and supporting tools.

“The conversation’s participants represented very small manufacturing companies with fewer than 20 workers. They all recounted a mad scramble over the past six months. First, they had to figure out whether their operations were essential enough to stay open under their state-mandated shutdown orders.

Then began the efforts to keep their workers safe, implement cleaning regimens, source protective materials, respond to public health protocols that evolved during the pandemic, determine what emergency support they qualified for, and go through the steps to access funds. All of this was being done with a small staff that needed also to continue getting product out and deal with obstacles to normal operations. Hurdles included delays and disarray in the supply chain, disruption in cash flow, with both account receivable extensions and overnight changes in credit terms, shipping impediments and customers still expecting on-time deliveries.”

To add to the troubles, disruptions in global trade with China have created significant impact in supply chains worldwide. Companies who rely on direct and secondary suppliers in China are currently experiencing significant disruption, and this is likely to continue. But it isn’t just China… countries around the globe are experiencing challenges with having enough personnel, materials and technology to deliver their goods.

For so many years, businesses have focused on optimizing their supply chains to minimize costs, reduce inventories, and increase asset utilization. This streamlining has also removed the buffers and the flexibility to absorb disruption. COVID-19 has shown that many companies aren’t aware of their vulnerability when supply chains suffer from a global shock of some type.

So, how can organizations respond to the immediate challenge?

There are steps that businesses can take to help address the changing conditions facing businesses today, and a major item that should be addressed is the alignment of IT systems and support to evolving work requirements. Further, enhancements in operational systems should be made to illuminate the extended supply network and enhance inbound materials visibility, and a new focus on production scheduling agility as well as evaluating alternative outbound logistics options should be approached.

NOOBEH’s cloud solutions have been the foundation for business continuity and operational support throughout these difficult times.

We’ve helped companies around the country implement Microsoft Azure cloud servers where they are able to run their entire operations. From order entry, manufacturing, inventory management, pack and ship, and through to accounting and finance – businesses run their applications, integrations and services that allow them to keep the business operating even with reduced personnel or as their users are forced to work from home. OneDrive and SharePoint file storage, and TEAMS for closer collaboration and simplified access to information, helps hybrid working models and distributed workgroups stay in step with projects and business goals.

As a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, Mendelson Consulting and NOOBEH provide and administer Microsoft 365 and Azure services, enabling us to more closely manage the licensing and computing platform to make sure it works in the best possible way for your business. With NOOBEH managing your services, you get predictable performance at predictable costs, allowing your business to operate without interruption or subscription overages.

As the past year has proven, life is unpredictable.

Let Mendelson Consulting and NOOBEH help your business implement the cloud services and technologies that will give your organization the ability to adjust to changing conditions because you’ll have the most agile IT platform available.

Joanie Mann

Joanie Mann

Focus is on Digital business transformation for small/medium businesses. As the principal consultant for Cooper Mann Company and Noobeh's Director of Cloud Services, Joanie Mann provides support and guidance for businesses seeking to implement cloud solutions and hosted services in their IT environments and consults with solution providers to develop or expand application hosting and application delivery service offerings. Joanie is the Director of Delivery for Noobeh Cloud Services (a division of Mendelson Consulting), and is on the board of advisors of ACE Cloud Hosting &

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