Renew, Review, Repeat: Defining Our “Next” Normal
Aug 11, 2021
By Carol McGlogan
A Preview: Research Study focusing on COVID-19 implications and opportunities for the Canadian electrical and automation industries
Each year, EFC reviews industry input on game changers to help steer strategic plans and to identify the topic of our annual research report. In the summer of 2020, it was no surprise that COVID-19 topped the list of game changers, followed by talent, emerging digital technologies and supply chains. This pandemic is not a standalone impact; it has affected employees, digital infrastructure and supply chains. This net effect serves as the focus of our new research study, which is set to examine the implications that COVID-19 has had on our markets, customers, talent and supply chains — and the opportunities we can leverage as we move beyond this pandemic.
A common sentiment shared by industry leaders at the end of 2020 was that despite the drop in sales during the peak of COVID, profitability did not suffer as much as predicted. We all scaled back; we survived with less. The big question is when the spending comes back, how much of it will be to support new strategic initiatives uncovered via the changes due to COVID-19 vs. legacy spending categories.
When it comes to strategy, the pandemic could be as much of a blessing as it was a curse. We know that when there is change, or chaos, doors open and close to opportunities. Taking a peek at initial research results points to more spending in a number of categories with no cuts to others. However, we all know that “having it all” is not sustainable and hard choices will have to be made.
The framework of our research work focuses on questions posed by industry leaders: where will the market spend be? How have customer’s buying behaviours evolved? What will the interiors of homes, offices and industries look like, and how can our industry support the evolving needs? What type of work environment will the future hold? What new HR policies will emerge to attract and retain talent? What are the long-term impacts on supply chains that service Canada? These are the questions we will address in the research.
To capture the scope and scale of this research project, EFC has partnered with Kerrwil Publications. Together, EFC and Kerrwil have established a mixed research approach by conducting primary research involving interviews and surveys with industry leaders, HR professionals, electrical contractors, systems integrators and OEMs. Secondary sources have also been collected throughout the process to help fill the gaps and complete the picture required to help EFC members with investment and planning decisions to emerge from the pandemic stronger and more relevant than ever before.
Our intent is to help members plan for the “Next Normal.” EFC members can learn about the research findings at the upcoming ‘Beyond the Horizon’ virtual conference on September 22 and 23. “Beyond Horizons” has been designed to provide a team experience with speakers to address leadership and change management and a variety of break-out sessions on virtual sales, supply chain, e-commerce, mental health, electrical code updates, cybersecurity and post COVID-19 HR policies. Learn more at www.electrofed.com/2021beyondthehorizon.
Carol McGlogan is President & CEO, Electro-Federation Canada.