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It has been more than a week since a large majority of businesses have been allowed to operate again as the country reached level three of the national lockdown. While it may still be too early to expect businesses to get back to their pre-COVID-19 lives, a large number of companies will continue to recoil from the impact of the national lockdown.

A survey from the National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA) stated that 78% of responding enterprises indicated that they do not have sufficient cash flow to see them through the lockdown period, this despite the multitude of funds made available to assist businesses during the pandemic.

And the World Bank in its Global Economic Prospects report is forecasting the global economy will decline by 5.2%, while South Africa’s GDP will plunge 7.1%.

Rather than focus on recreating the same company that went into lockdown, those entrepreneurs who were able to reopen their doors must put their energies towards creating an organisation adept at using the economic downturn to its advantage, this is where outsourcing can prove useful.

Disruptive outsourcing solutions are challenging traditional methods and driving competitive advantage. Outsourcing allows businesses to focus on their core functions and not be bogged down by employee management. Outsourcing can drive innovation, enhance customer satisfaction, improve a company’s performance and ensure they are always on the right side of the law.

According to a Deloitte study, outsourcing is enabling competitive advantage amongst companies because of its ability to transform the way organisations operate making them more agile, efficient, and effective. Of the companies surveyed for the study, approximately 84% of them have either initiated discussions, conducted pilots, or have implemented at least some disruptive outsourcing solutions.

Innovative Staffing Solutions employs over 19,000 permanent employees through outsourcing. While most companies were offering their employees severance packages during the lockdown, Innovative Staffing Solutions grew its permanent staff complement by 500 employees. This is where the future of outsourcing is heading.

One of the keys to surviving any business hurdles involves becoming mobile. Businesses that were mobile before the outbreak of COVID-19, were able to continue operating even though some of them were not deemed as essential services. Outsourcing offers businesses the flexibility of being able to react quickly as their only focus is on the company’s core functions and not the management of human capital which can often become cumbersome.

Companies and their leaders need to financially plan better if they are to survive the next economic disruptive wave. They need to have contingency plans in place that will see them through for about six to 12 months downtime. They need to embrace digitisation and outsourcing. Companies can grow much faster and recover a lot quicker from setbacks when they are fluid in their operations and open to leveraging the current downturn to push beyond the effects of COVID-19.

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