Summary points from 31 March ZOOM Roundtable for BSC Leaders in CEE
Summary Bullet Points:
Need for frequent but brief communication (from Site Directors to their teams); one BSC – to keep social relationships within the team alive – is doing Friday afternoon “drinks” at the end of the day!
One BSC said that they are emphasizing the company's financial strength and health – as that issue has come up repeatedly from nervous staff.
Cybersecurity issues are taking centre-stage.
Working-capital positions have become hugely important. This point was echoed by several BSC Directors, as HQ puts additional pressure on cash-generation. They have been asked to manage cash-flow tighter; and also have been asked to be “on-guard” for weaknesses among their vendors (if key vendors fail to deliver, they need alternatives).
While one BSC is resisting requests from vendors to pay faster, another BSC is taking the opposite tack: reducing payment time from 30 days to 15 days, showing their vendors that they are keen to help them through difficult cashflow times. This BSC said this tactic is having a very positive impact on the perception of them during these difficult times.
One BSC is applying for state-aid/subsidies related to employment costs, etc. Another has decided deliberately to not apply for state-aid, believing that they are leaving space for those SMEs that are in more urgent need.
Staffing/Employment Levels: several BSC have imposed hiring freezes or salary freezes til May 1st; none of the BSCs on the Roundtable are cutting staff numbers right now. One BSC is offering psychological training to staff to deal with the transition to “home-office”. Another BSC is continuing to hire, using on-line on-boarding; courier delivery of computer/equipment to the new employee's home.
HQ calling for Cost Savings: several BSCs said that HQ is asking how they can find cost savings in the range of 20-40%. HQ's likely to demand delivery of more services at lower costs.
Real-estate/Offices costs: One Director said that surely Office occupancy costs will be under rigorous scrutiny in next stage. Flex work hours will become wide-spread; one BSC said that a permanent 4-day work-week is closely being considered.
More Services: Several BSC Directors mentioned the “opportunities” from taking on more services from higher-cost locations (“like Western Europe”)
Stage II BCP: While nearly all BSCs have navigated this 1st stage “Business Continuity Plan”, they are now considering Stage II risks: that Internet networks could go down, rendering home-offices ineffective. One BSC has looked at back-ups in India; another in Costa Rica. While this “full network down” looks unlikely, several BSCs are doing contingency-planning.
Stage III: When these “stay-at-home” restrictions are lifted, most BSCs will be making even faster transitions to full Agile working.
We had 8 SSC Directors registered for the call:
Allnex - Wim Vanderpoorten (Latvia/Belgium)
DFDS - Radek Mierzejewski (Poznan, Poland)
Schaeffler - Anna Berczynska (Wroclaw, Poland)
Zoetis - Łukasz Wielochowski (Warsaw, Poland)
Danske Bank - Milda Dzidolikiene (Lithuania)
Danske Bank – Vilius Lukauskas (Lithuania)
Thom Barnhardt, CEE Business Media – Moderator (Warsaw)
Oscar Reitsma, Transparent – Co-moderator (Holland)