Technology has proven essential to many for getting on with daily lives during this pandemic. COVID-19 has proved the ultimate catalyst for the digital transformation of many companies, accelerating major trends that were already underway prior to March 2020. Supporting digitization and updating to the latest technology for business process improvements are going to prove not only useful but essential for businesses who wish to remain competitive in the post-COVID world.
It’s true that the pandemic has had a lasting effect on how business is done, and things are not likely to return to the norms we knew before COVID-19. But many technology trends that strengthened during the pandemic will be sticking around in the next normal.
SYSPRO’s eBook, The Complete “How-To” Guide to Your Digital Transformation With ERP for Manufacturers, provides some great insight and valuable information.
Here are some of the top trends you’ll see continuing beyond COVID.
It used to be that there was nothing more reassuring than having cash in hand. But in 2020, physical cash could carry the coronavirus. The safer alternative is to go through contactless digital payments via credit cards, smartphones, and smartwatches to avoid the spread of the virus. The Apple and Microsoft stores have been operating this way for a while. Now, we are likely to see a significant reimagining of in-store point-of-sale zones. Some stores might even see a complete removal of traditional tills to reduce the need to queue and enable touch-free transactions using facial recognition technology.
The rise in online shopping has stress-tested many logistics systems. Given that in-person delivery is not virus-proof, many delivery companies and restaurants moved to contactless delivery services where goods are left at the door or picked up from a designated location. Drone deliveries are still in their infancy, but can already be used to deliver supplies to customers who live within a several-mile radius from a base station.
The American-Made Movement
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos for the world’s economies, it has also revitalized the shop local movement as Americans become wary of foreign-made products and begin to opt for American-made to support the local economy and boost job creation. Additionally, supply chains that have traditionally sourced materials overseas have also re-routed their supply chain to include more local sources.
Supply Chain 4.0
COVID-19 has severely disrupted global supply chains, exposing how volatile they are with a lack of contingency during a crisis like this. With social distancing and shelter in place orders in effect, some factories have all but shut down. While demand for food and personal protective equipment has skyrocketed, some countries have banned the exports of some of these essential items. The over-reliance on paper-based records in warehouses and distribution centers, poor visibility of data, and a lack of flexibility have made the existing supply chain systems vulnerable to this crisis. Key technologies that form part of Industry 4.0 and contribute to business process improvement—including AI, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and blockchain—are establishing more resilient supply chain management systems going forward by enhancing the accuracy of data.
A lot of companies have had to adapt to employees working from home, and while remote working has been made possible for some time by communications technologies like virtual private networks (VPNs), voice over internet protocol (VoIP), virtual video meetings, cloud services, and a multitude of work collaboration tools, many individuals are now working at home for the first time.
In addition to preventing the spread of viruses, remote work also saves commute times, provides more flexibility, and allows employees to enjoy an improved work-life balance.
Working at home has caused few headaches for employers and employees alike, exposing poor information security and corporate data privacy. Recent class actions filed against Zoom are a testament to that. Working at home can be challenging in terms of labor laws because it is tough for an employer to ensure they are providing a safe work environment. There are also implications regarding income tax. Employees may experience mental health issues due to the increased isolation from their colleagues. If remote work becomes more common after the COVID-19 pandemic, employers might reduce office rent costs and source flexible staff from countries with cheaper labor.
Before COVID-19, many people only experienced high-speed internet in their workplaces and used slower or unreliable internet at home on their residential plans. After the great work-from-home migration of late March, the lines have blurred between the two, as now there is a huge spike in business traffic on the residential networks. Streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, as well as social networks such as Facebook and YouTube, have been asked to reduce video streaming quality to avoid straining the internet. Streaming video can account for over 60 percent of data transmitted from internet providers to consumers, but this has increased while many people are out of work.
In the age of automation, technology will be essential to reskilling the workforce remotely. Many businesses are offering online training and reskilling opportunities to enable employees to move successfully within the organization to more skilled and higher-paid positions.
Technology for Now and Tomorrow With PositiveVision
Digital technology has played a pivotal role in reducing human interactions while increasing productivity and simplifying living, all in order to help contain the COVID virus. Embracing these and other emerging technologies that contribute to business process improvement can better position organizations for the post-COVID business landscape of the future.
Adding new technology to improve business processes and prepare for the future is exciting, but it can be challenging to find just the right fit for your needs and budget. PositiveVision has been working with small and mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies, helping them find the right modern business management systems for reducing inefficiencies and growing revenue. Let our experts help you find the right technology for navigating COVID-19 and whatever the future brings. Talk to a qualified consultant now.