The past year or so has been extremely tough for the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its spread was an unprecedented state of affairs, and affected every inhabited continent on Earth. This halted transport and economic activity all over the world, affecting businesses of all kinds.
At no time before in recorded history had such an event occurred. Of course, there were pandemics which ravaged large parts of the population. However, the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic was at a whole other level. This was because we are living in an era where globalization has all of humanity interconnected. Commercial air travel also played a major role in the speed at which things escalated. No one could have imagined how the world changed in just a few months, and very few were even close to prepared.
Numerous businesses faced tremendous losses and even shutdowns because of the economic impact of the coronavirus. This is why industries of all kinds had to adapt to the changing conditions. They had to make tough decisions such as laying off employees or cutting budgets from essential departments. They also had to deal with lockdown restrictions which limited the number of staff present in various locations, and with long-term supply blockades. This whole chain of events caused numerous hurdles in the whole process, from design to manufacturing and distribution.
However, after a period of adjustment and adaptation, industries have realized that this may very well be the new normal that they'll have to work with. They looked for ways to circumvent the issues brought on by the pandemic. These solutions included remote work policies, focus on local manufacturing, and shifts to different business models, etc. The hardware industry is no different, and can survive and even attain some degree of success in this pandemic by taking some basic steps.
What steps should the hardware industry take?
There are numerous ways in which hardware companies can appropriately react to the pandemic and not have to take an drastic steps. In fact, companies must follow these tips to avoid mass layoffs and eventually shutting down.
- Do not skimp on R&D
Halting research activities for the time being might seem like the easiest way to cut costs, but it might very well serve as the death knell for your company. You have to stay relevant, and offer solutions tailored for the pandemic to remain afloat. For this purpose, research and development is necessary. So, re-evaluate the research projects your company has underway, and push the projects which will serve useful in the current scenario.
- Shift to the HaaS model
The pandemic has adversely affected people's buying power. With more people losing their jobs and the economic uncertainty, big-ticket purchases are no longer a priority. Now, people find it more viable to subscribe for services rather than pay the ample costs of owning the products themselves. The hardware industry can leverage this and shift towards the Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) model. In this way, companies will get a reliable stream of revenue instead of having to worry about plummeting sales.
- Support digital transformation
Digital transformation has been a key discussion point during this pandemic. Numerous industries learned that physical presence is not essential for things to run. Of course, it is necessary for some jobs, but for designers, marketers, and other such posts, working from home is suitable. However, companies must adapt the best digital solutions for design and collaboration purposes.
- Increase efficiency
This goes without saying, but working efficiently is what will save hardware companies from closure. This means streamlining processes, smoothing out the workflow, and ensure that supply and manufacturing concerns are kept in mind. They can look into localized vendors and manufacturing solutions in their respective markets and also incorporate collaborative tools in their workflow. They can also provide B2B solutions, so that their services remain in demand.
Therefore, the hardware industry can recover, and even do relatively well during the pandemic. However, companies need to stay on their toes, stay progressive, and keep bringing their clients what they want.