Covid affected nearly all industries. Take industrial manufacturing, for instance. Almost half of all Asian factories reported everything from lacking raw materials to plummeting sales. Yet, despite this grim outlook, many turned themselves around and changed for the better.
What helped some of those manufacturers ride the storm?
Manufacturers riding out a storm must have resiliency, ingenuity, and a willingness to see problems as opportunities. Businesses that relied on systems that were already in place — like IoT-connected devices — were able to make swift pivots. And those pivots saved them from the need to consider bankruptcy or closure.
Today, manufacturing is still limping along in many ways. But it’s hardly been defeated. The same is true of seven other industries that have leveraged the pandemic’s worst to produce some of their best ideas and solutions.
1. Institutional Lending
From banks to mortgage brokers, financial institutions of all sizes were forced out of their comfort zones by shutdowns.
Consumers still wanted fast access to money but in a way that didn’t put their health at risk. So MeridianLink, which went public in July 2021 at a valuation of $2 billion, led the charge to make quick changes.
By supplying technology upgrades to their smaller clientele, including credit unions and community banks, MeridianLink helped level the playing field for all lending institutions. At the same time, consumers appreciated applying for and receiving approval from institutions digitally.
Today, financial institutions continue to streamline lending to get it as close to a nearly real-time approval and transfer of funds as possible.
2. Occupational Upskilling, Training, and Reskilling
Since 2020, many people have found themselves outdated in terms of their job responsibilities. This has spurred a need for rapid, widespread occupational upskilling.
However, historical responses to corporate-level education needs aren’t cutting it for workers who want to reskill promptly. They can’t wait two or four years to earn a traditional certification or degree.
Innovative education providers have answered this issue by re-thinking knowledge exchange for working adults. For example, healthcare education provider Carrus has worked with Walgreens, 3M, and CVS to develop focused 30-day degree programs. The programs are aimed at getting people into the healthcare field right away.
Carrus’ approach mirrors that of Google, the tech giant that’s offering an in-demand certification model meant to bypass traditional schooling.
3. Changes in Healthcare
Health and wellness have gone mainstream. With everyone talking more about viruses and vaccines, consumers are eager for information. Plus, they’re having greater discussions about what to do to live fuller lives.
Not surprisingly, many individuals and families also want to have more control over their healthcare decisions. This change in the patient-doctor-insurance relationship has given way to a new era of caregiving and transparency.
Take telemedicine. Between February and April 2020, telehealth usage rose 78 times. At this point, it’s gone mainstream and seems to be on a collective valuation trajectory of around $250 billion. This is good news for medical professionals and the communities they serve, as it shows a desire to remove barriers and improve access to care.
4. Food Services
During the pandemic, food industry businesses like restaurants, pubs, and coffeehouses took some of the most challenging financial brunts. So how did some come out on the other side?
Those who were paying attention realized that people still wanted to take a break from making food. They just didn’t want to travel to get fresh meals. The solution was to develop unique delivery options, including partnering with delivery services like GrubHub and UberEats.
To get a sense of how lucrative the market can be for delivery service providers, DoorDash grew 220% quarter-over-quarter the first year of Covid. DoorDash added other delivery and pickup options to keep the growth going, as did competitors. The result is that more folks are familiar with clicking their way to lunch and dinner, which has led restaurants to be more public with their menus.
5. Business-Focused Software Development
It would probably be hard to walk down any neighborhood block and not find someone who worked remotely during the pandemic.
In some cases, companies still haven’t brought their people in-house after almost two years in a move dubbed The Great Wait. However, keeping efficiency, productivity, and communication levels high in the interim has fallen on the shoulders of business software system developers and partners.
For instance, Zoom enjoyed massive publicity and usage after March 2020. In response, Zoom tweaked its offerings to reduce friction points. Though Microsoft Teams did its best to unseat Zoom, videoconferencing is still synonymous with the Zoom name. Other superstars that helped foster virtual team collaboration include cloud-based project management and CRM platforms.
6. Change in Automotive Sales
Who would have thought that car buyers would be willing to purchase vehicles without taking a test drive? Certainly not most car sellers. Yet the pandemic revealed that necessity truly can be the mother of unbelievable invention.
To avoid losing money on cars sitting in their lots, dealerships and independent sellers streamlined the buying process and focused more on online sales. To be sure, digital used car sellers like Carvana weren’t new. Carvana itself had a banner year in 2020, selling more than 200,000 vehicles.
Nevertheless, car dealerships weren’t about to stay trounced by digital-only competitors. So sellers took off the pressure, became super-communicative, and made the buying process almost too easy. What they found was that the public appreciated a more compassionate, customer-centric experience.
7. Recruitment Changes
The Great Resignation has led millions of people to quit jobs and bad bosses. Though some have decided to follow entrepreneurial dreams, others are eager to put down roots in new companies.
But don’t expect them to respond to job advertisements and perks that worked in 2019. These days, candidates have revised their expectations and are willing to wait for the perfect fit. Recruiters know this all too well, which is why they’ve begun to refresh their sourcing, analyzing, and interviewing techniques.
First, they’re advising businesses to focus on the flexibility of a job whenever possible. Secondly, they’re using AI software to help remove or reduce bias. And finally, hiring managers are leveraging the latest software to cut down on any bottlenecks in the hiring pipeline.
It can be hard to think of any worldwide crisis having a silver lining; it’s true. Still, the 21 months between March 2020 and December 2021 were transformative for many industries. And that’s ultimately beneficial for businesses and the populations they serve.
Image Credit: Provided by the author; Pexels; Thank you!