For the first time in many years, members of the EMS Cooperative had the opportunity to meet together in person for an EMS Workshop on Business Continuity and Recovery. Around 100 participants met in Switzerland and online, for the two day event. The workshop was moderated by industry expert, Derek Osborn and to bring different insights on crisis management, PwC provided ideas on how to meet customer needs and grow business.
Day one of the workshop focused first on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis and the vital need to have business continuity and contingency plans in place. This level of planning and readiness for ‘shocks’ is now absolutely essential in this age of unprecedented levels of uncertainty in the international business environment arising from many actual and potential disruptions to international trade. These disruptions include cross-border regulatory burdens, supply chain bottle necks, the energy supply crisis, escalating costs, global market uncertainty, regional conflicts, possible cyber-attacks as well as the need to effectively manage ‘local’ problems such as power outages, transport delays, strikes, customs delays and IT systems failures, to avoid further erosion of confidence and trust in EMS services.
The workshop then examined how to maximise business where it is happening with excellent case studies from Canada and Algeria demonstrating how they are dealing with the challenges and getting good results. Japan and China also explained how their twinning project had enabled them to be more informed about each other’s operations and how their partnership is continuing to grow business between them. This example, and the Netherlands' case study, strongly reinforced the value of networking and building strong relationships and trust from personal connections on which international collaboration is based.
The day concluded with a networking event supported by the USPS enabling workshop participants to make new connections, their network and practise their networking skills!
On the second day, participants were reminded by the EMS Unit of the rich range and depth of data that is available and how to make the most use of it for identifying and resolving problems as well as managing performance and improving service quality. Impressive case studies presented by Ethiopia, Romania and Vietnam demonstrated very well how they were doing this and were able to show their results with relevant charts. The breakout activity on day two was to identify priorities for the EMS recovery plan and define the three essential KPIs.
The next focus was the importance of customer experience, being customer driven and ‘looking after’ customers well, with inspiring case studies from Bangladesh and the Maldives, showing what could be done for customers, sometimes with limited resources. Members were reminded of the e-Learning resources, particularly the marketing plan course designed to help members rethink the way they promote EMS to customers.
After a busy few days, the priorities identified at the workshop and new EMS connections will help members prepare for future challenges.