RISING UP IN COVID-19: WHAT’S NEXT FOR MALAYSIAN BUSINESSES?

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As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe leaving chaos and confusion in its wake, we now find ourselves waking up to a different world. The world quite literally ‘closes its doors’, and the global economy is hit by a disruption like never before. In the aftermath, businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), need no reminder of how bad things have been – all in just the matter of months.

In Malaysia, as the Movement Control Order (MCO) was in effect to flatten the curve, revenues for Malaysian businesses was unfortunately, nothing but flat – with most resulting to a nose-dive. Non-essential businesses had to stop operations while the public has been ordered to stay at home to curb the outbreak. For some, this then led to minimal to zero cash inflow for months during the MCO period.

Today as most businesses reopen (or struggle to do so), companies are now steadying itself in these uncharted waters. Temporarily, government stimulus and special relief funds do ease the pain, but businesses need to be proactive in the ‘new world’ where one single move will be the difference of sinking or rising, and eventually thriving.

VAC’s role in helping businesses

To keep sailing forward, this crisis demands companies to review business models and adapt fast to keep up with the ‘new normal’ of doing business. To cater to this need, the Virtual Advisory Clinic (VAC) by Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) supports companies in rebuilding the business due to the adverse impact of COVID-19. Virtual Advisory Clinics (VAC) is an advisory and consultation online “clinic” that help companies rethink and reshape their ways with the help of recognised experts and specialists as advisors.

Helping businesses build a solid ‘anchor’, VAC focuses on various areas such as Financial Consultation, Business Digitalisation, Supply Chain, and Branding and Marketing, which aim to equip the industry players for a stronger comeback once the impact of COVID-19 is contained.

Just like a clinic, the Virtual Advisory Clinic (VAC) helps ‘diagnose’ your company’s illness and ‘prescribes’ a remedy to make it better – and most times, stronger. These are the objectives of VAC, that are aimed to diagnose companies’ pain points that are blocking growth while providing effective and implementable recommendations and solutions. To ensure a structured and measurable outcome, VAC also provides virtual coaching and follows up on the companies’ progress in tackling the problem areas.

Can your business benefit from VAC?

The good news is, VAC is an initiative under the 9 Productivity Nexus by MPC that covers services, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. This means that businesses in the Focus Areas of Tourism, Machinery & Equipment, Retail & F&B, Chemical, Electrical & Electronics, Digital, Private Healthcare, Professional Services, and Agrofood would be eligible to apply for the VAC initiative.

To date, VAC scores a 93% rating in the Customer Satisfaction Index and positive testimonials from businesses. In fact in April 2020, VAC received 233 applications only within 7 days of its soft launch. This indicates the immediate need from businesses that recognised the urgency to adapt, merely within a month after MCO started.

MPC deputy director general Zahid Ismail shares that MPC plans to find more innovative ways for companies in all the 9 Productivity Nexus to pivot to the new normal in a post-Covid-19 world; bringing productivity activities to every business that connects to the internet.

Regarding how businesses, especially SMEs, have reacted during the pandemic, Zahid shared, “Despite the prevalent challenges, SMEs have quickly adapted to the Covid-19 crisis to harvest the productivity benefits of online technologies which include reduced costs, as well as better time management.”

In this global ‘downtime’, companies must take this opportunity to keep learning, adapting and applying new knowledge for a sustainable future. If there’s one thing we learnt during the COVID-19, it’s that to embrace change, and not resist it, can open doors to new, unimaginable opportunities. For more information about the VAC initiative, head to www.mpc.gov.my/vac