Covid-19: New Challenges, New Opportunities

We had been forced to work from home for about a week when it became clear that the Covid-19 pandemic will change the business world as we know it. Thankfully the extended Zvolv family was already self isolating and safe. As a young company we found ourselves wondering if we’d survive the pandemic. We barely had a day to brainstorm on new directions we could take before one of our customers gave us the answer.

The customer in question operates more than 900 cloud kitchens and as India went into lockdown our customer became a ray of hope for everyone stuck in isolation that didn’t have the means to rustle up meals for themselves. But they could only operate if their management and the government was confident they could stay safe. They wanted an Audit & Rapid Response application that would ensure immediate kitchen shut-down in case of default on even a single safety parameter, followed by quick reopen once corrective actions had been taken and validated. They were already conducting a few audits a day manually for some kitchens but now had to scale this nationally, an extremely difficult proposition without proper automation and tracking tools in place. They had assembled a Quick Response Team to respond to potential risks immediately, they had trained their people in double quick time and of course, senior management was on call but none of that guaranteed safety without a fast, intelligent coordinator guiding the distributed team and routing tasks by priority. Enter Zvolv.

The customer shared the health parameters they were covering in audits and the follow-up actions. In 3 days flat we had a live application in production guiding thousands of our customer’s employees through audits, shut-downs, corrective actions, and re-openings. Our customer had ready reports for the government while senior management could track repeat failures, up-time and more. The application went through 3 iterations in 6 days and our customer hasn’t had to shut down for a single day.

As it turns out, in dealing with Covid-19, monitoring hygiene is only the first step. Within days we had more requests for Audit & Response, Employee Wellness, Rostering and Reverse Supply Chain/Delivery applications. We are now beginning to realize that almost everything our customers are asking for right now barely skims the surface.

Let’s begin with what we know. The most fearsome aspect of this pandemic is the uncertainty. Every expert projection comes with more disclaimers than the worst insurance policy. Nobody has an idea of when we will reach a point where it is okay to go back out, start working from offices or go shopping in malls.

But there are two things we know for sure:
– Every business needs to find ways to serve customers while ensuring social distancing between the company and customers as well as between employees in operating environments.
– Germaphobia is a perfectly rational state of mind for someone designing hygiene processes.

So right now we are partnering with our customers to ensure they can safely continue serving customers. Processes will evolve as we learn more about the virus, testing capacity increases and governments identify better ways to manage citizen health. Our applications will keep adapting to these changes in days. But all of that only helps companies whose business models remain viable. The impact the pandemic will have on key business drivers like customer mindsets, the global supply chain, business travel and more is completely unknown.

Our customers are already formulating new strategies and business models. A top eyewear chain is focusing on delivery. A top global QSR is moving from large stores in malls to independent kiosks. The list goes on and on. Accelerated evolution is no longer an aspiration, it’s a matter of survival. This puts businesses in a position where they need to ideate, design, implement, monitor and improve brand new processes, double quick, all while working remotely. The Zvolv platform allows our customers to deploy apps in days that guide distributed teams, collect data and showcase key results. Customers can then incorporate automation into the processes that deliver, using intelligent bots.

The current business scenario demands a close partnership between our customers and us. Most customers have taken enormous hits in revenue and it is impossible to forecast anything. We’ve developed creative commercial models that empower customers to test out new strategies easily while our costs get more than justified.
We’ll continue supporting you with a series of posts on Covid-19 driven business evolution as we see it. Follow us to keep yourself in the race and see the business world rapidly Zvolv.

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