Best Practice

Analysis on the corona crisis

05.05.2020

How resilient industries are to the economic impact

Every company is affected by the corona crisis – regardless of size or region. At the same time, the impact of the crisis also varies by industry sector. While all companies report at least some restrictions to their operations, some organizations, such as tourism and airline companies, are facing a dramatic drop in sales revenues. And then there are industries that are better able to withstand the crisis either because of their business model or their ability to adapt quickly. Campana & Schott has analyzed the types of challenges currently faced by companies, and also provides recommendations for measures that can be used to manage the crisis. 

Based on comprehensive research and the experience of our advisory network, we analyzed the various industry sectors shown below with regard to the resilience of their business model and demand compared to other industries, and subsequently divided them into four major clusters. 

Type 1: Crisis Resisters – Defying the crisis

Companies that are particularly resistant to crises are very resilient due to their business model. The level of demand is high compared to other industry sectors, and sometimes even higher than before the crisis. This segment includes MedTech & Pharmaceuticals as well as eCommerce, Entertainment, FMCG and Transport & Logistics companies.

MedTech & Pharmaceuticals

While the demand for some products (e.g. ventilators and personal protective equipment) has definitely increased, companies in other segments report lower sales numbers as non-urgent operations and investments are delayed. 

+ Advantages
  • Significantly higher demand for COVID-19 related medical and pharmaceutical products  
  • Increased demand for over-the-counter flu/cold medication and dietary supplements 
- Disadvantages
  • Approval processes and clinical studies are suspended 
  • Supply chains are severely curtailed, imports and exports of certain products are regulated 
  • Sales channels not fully digitized yet 
Use digitization to boost development

At this time, the focus remains on COVID-19 related products; this demand will drop to a moderate level in the medium term. Companies must keep an eye on their innovation and development pipeline and must begin to lay the foundation for the time after the crisis. The momentum that exists with regard to digitization should be exploited and utilized to boost development. Supported with change management measures, employees can be included in the process and the corporate culture can be enhanced. 

eCommerce, Entertainment, FMCG, Transport & Logistics

Online sellers and eEntertainment providers have reported a significant increase in demand. And as the number of food and hygiene products ordered online increases, so do national logistics volumes, even though international trade is severely restricted.  

+ Advantages
  • Significantly higher demand from online channels
  • Increased demand for food and hygiene products 
- Disadvantages
  • Supply chains are severely restricted or disappear, with possible shortages 
  • Demand is dynamic, difficult to make predictions 
  • Employee protection becomes a big challenge for companies 
Expand digital processes and focus on partnerships

In the short term, bull-whip effects must be avoided, or at least mitigated, with robust forecasting models. After the crisis, the established digital processes and the acquired know-how should be expanded, and possible mergers and acquisitions activities or partnerships should be considered.  

Type 2: Born of Crisis – Impulses for new structures

The restrictions to public life and the health challenges also give rise to entirely new markets. They are often developed by start-ups. Their business models are configured for the current situation and the resulting customer demand, and they provide impulses for long-term structural adjustments. This cluster also includes education. 

Education

The public education system represents a special area in this regard. Even though demand has not changed, this business model shown itself to be ill-equipped for the crisis. Physical lectures or exams have been canceled. In addition to schools and universities, this also affects continuing education as well as professional development events.  

+ Advantages
  • Some events still go ahead via existing platforms or self-study materials
- Disadvantages
  • Loss of all face-to-face sessions 
  • Big differences in the digital maturity levels of students and teachers 
  • Significant bureaucratic hurdles in the public sector 
Expanding digital skills

The digital skills that are gained in the present situation should continue to be developed after the crisis. Opportunities arise in the area of modular and individualized teaching sessions. The corresponding continuing education products for companies can add much more flexibility to further training and demand may increase as a result. Now that so many people have experienced the home office, the previous barriers have been lowered. 

New start-ups

At this time, new markets are developed by young companies with innovative business models. Therefore established companies should always monitor the possible emergence of new competitors that radically change the existing structures. But a more promising approach is to actively scrutinize their own business model and adapt it if necessary. Particularly cooperations with start-ups should be reviewed.  

Type 3: Reduced Business – Demand has collapsed

While the business models in the Oil & Gas, Energy, Communication, Construction and Financial Services sectors are somewhat resilient, they nevertheless suffer from dramatically reduced demand due to a deteriorating economy, the health crisis and the restrictions on public life. 

Oil & Gas, Energy, Communication, Construction, Financial Services

The development of demand greatly depends on the product portfolio. At the same time, a general decrease in demand can be observed as the economy weakens. But because of the system relevance of many companies in this cluster, demand nevertheless remains moderately high.  

+ Advantages
  • Drop in sales revenues is temporary 
  • Building projects will be continued in the future 
- Disadvantages
  • Uncertainty along the supply chain due to liquidity / delivery problems at suppliers  
  • The oil price has collapsed due to excess capacities, and the refinancing of companies becomes more difficult (oil and gas) 
  • Liquidity management under stress as credit lines are utilized and assets lose in value as prices fall (financial industry) 
  • Investments and public approval and awarding processes are delayed and sometimes suspended One example is the development of the 5G network
Push ahead with digitization, effective portfolio and innovation management

More efficient supply chains and transparent product flows can be achieved with the increased (digital) integration of suppliers. The continued digitization of processes, combined with effective portfolio and innovation management, lays the foundation for future projects. In addition, M&A opportunities will play a special role after the crisis. Excess capacities can be reduced and synergies can be achieved.  

Type 4: Sufferers – Dramatic drop in sales revenues

Machine and plant builders, the automotive industry, the retail sector, the tourism/travel industry and airlines are particularly hard hit. Their business model is almost powerless in the face of the current crisis. Companies are severely restricted in terms of the value creation process, and supply chains disappear. Added to the above is a dramatic decrease in demand. 

Manufacturing, Automotive, Retail (excl. FMCG)

Machine and plant builders, the automotive industry and the retail sector (except food and hygiene products) are affected in two ways: First, their operations are severely restricted as a result of the required protection measures. Second, demand has collapsed due to nationwide store closures and the lack of physical contact with customers.  

- Disadvantages
  • Retail spaces are closed, and events and trade fairs have been canceled until further notice
  • eCommerce is not yet established in most cases 
  • Rapid development of online shops is not possible, lack of know-how 
  • Just-in-time supply chains lead to bottlenecks in production 
  • Demand greatly dependent on buyers’ financial outlook 
Update business models

The crisis will lead to long-term structural changes. It should be utilized to revise outdated business models and catch up to digital platform companies. Sales and production processes must be digitized and customized, and the relevant expertise must be developed.  

Tourism & Travel, Airlines

Global tourism has virtually ground to a halt due to the spread of COVID-19. Non-urgent travel has been suspended for the foreseeable future and not all of the vacations that have been canceled will be taken at a later time due to the economic downturn.

- Disadvantages
  • Severe drop in sales revenues at the start of the peak travel season 
  • Significant liquidity and solvency problems due to lack of bookings and cancellations 
  • No recovery in sight, trips not taken cannot be made up later  

 

Streamline investment portfolio

The affected companies suffer from a loss of revenue that cannot be compensated later on. They can only mitigate the effects by postponing the cash-out. Streamlining the investment portfolio becomes unavoidable, whereby strategic innovations must be taken into account. The crisis will be followed by market consolidation and the resulting M&A opportunities, particularly in the airline industry. 

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Digitization paves the way for the future 

The current crisis affects all companies and creates new challenges - including restricted operations, the breakdown of supply chains or a dramatic decrease in demand. The severity of the impact will depend on the industry and the resilience of the business model. All companies – regardless of the industry – must scrutinize their established business models and develop new distribution channels. A critical analysis of the investment pipeline may provide short-term financial relief, but it should not be performed at the expense of long-term, strategic investments. The momentum that exists with regard to digitization must be seized during the crisis in order to pave the way for the future and to manage the digital transformation.