ALUMNI AND INDUSTRY PARTNERS SHARING
HOW COVID-19 IMPACTS ON THE BUSINESS AND SUPPLY CHAIN WORKPLACE
The pandemic of Covid-19 has affected various areas of business. It has transformed the conventional ways of working into virtual methods. Thus, it is utmost necessary for the students to aware and reflects on whether they are well prepared to embrace the challenges.
Raffles University invites our RU alumni and Industry Partner to share their views on:
- What is the impact of COVID-19 on transforming the business/workplace and employment skills?
- What are the skill sets needed to deal with this?
Date: 1 July 2020
Time: 2pm – 3pm
Platform: Microsoft Team
The sharing session was held as a forum session and it was moderated by Associate Professor, Dr CHOI Sang Long.
How Covid-19 has impacted on your industry?
Mr Lee: During the MCO, the port was not closed down, hence, he is required to continue to work. “Humans are a social being, we need interaction. During MCO, though we have to follow the social distancing rules, we have to make use of the technology to facilitate human interaction.”
Mr Dylan: The property industry is affected by the pandemic. The strike of the pandemic causes the consumer less willing to spend or invest in the property industry. The clients are now facing the downsizing and unpaid leave, it is hard to convince them to invest in property. “However, every disaster comes with a new opportunity, we are also seeking the new opportunity to touch on the client.”
We have adjusted our business operation strategy to reach out to the customers. For example, instead of passively waiting for the clients to walk into the sales gallery, we have taken the initiative to follow up the clients.
Mr Ranesh: When the MCO was firstly applied, it was quite challenging as the marine and flight logistics were affected due to the closure of the border. We have swapped our focus to land transportation. We have to work on shift to ensure the movement of cargo has successfully proceeded.
Adaptation process as everything has been moved online.
We used to use a lot of human interaction but it becomes impossible after the application of MCO. The human interaction has been reduced, especially when we held a meeting and all of the colleagues turned off their videos.
Mr Lee: An example, there was a new intern who entered the company during MCO. It is tough for a new fresh grad to have this kind of internship experience, where she just began her career, a new environment but due to the MCO, she had to work with a laptop and no physical engagement. Hence, the company has to increase engagement through video call and remotely supervise for 1-2 hours.
What will be the skill set needed post-pandemic?
- Continuously self-learning. For example, the intern that I mentioned earlier, she is new but she has to complete the task by herself. It is also a training of self-discipline.
- Communication Skill. Communication skill is critical after the strike of the MCO. Communication is not one way, you have to let people understand and also listen to others. When we are walking face-to-face, we can judge based on the movement. Yet, when we work remotely and when everyone is “camera shy”, we have to learn how to communicate effectively and efficiently on the remote channel.
- Problem Solving Skill. Never wait for others to solve the problem. In the real industry, everything moves at a fast pace. You must always have a mindset of problem-solving as you join a company to solve the problem but not to create a problem.
- For a leader, you should have empathy. You have to understand what your employee wants and truly care for them. They will feel it and appreciate it. The generation now is different from before, 16 years ago, it was commander style, but nowadays, it is less hierarchy. We have to learn how to collaborate and play our role to achieve the objective of the company.
Mr Dylan: Hardworking is matter. After the MCO, most of the company will look at the very detailed work. Hence, the paperwork has been increased. Hence, there is a tendency that the writing skill, reporting skill, software skill such as excel, PowerPoint have been increased in demand. One key point – you have to learn and be an expert in how you are going to express yourself, express the information to your supervisor.
Mr Ranesh: In the logistics industry, it is all about service. You are required to cultivate the soft skill including emotional intelligence. After the strike of the pandemic, you are required to learn the new technology and the digital platform.
Adaptability and Flexibility. If you could do better, put more effort. For example, when the MCO first started, there were a lot of shipments that reached in midnight, for us, we have to check whether the shipment can go through or not. If it cannot be gone through, we have to divert the shipment or to check when the government will allow it to go through. Hence, with this scenario, the management should not expect people to work from 9 to 5. We will also have to learn to handle the pressure under the new normal
Dr Choi: After the MCO, the current market will be flooded with unemployment, the opportunity of employment will be decreasing. How can a fresh graduate compete with the experienced employee who also seeks for the job?
Mr Lee: The fresh grad must know “how do you sell yourself “, the fresh grad should be able to identify what kind of value you can contribute to the company. If the employment rate is low, you should check out the alternative, whether to start a business or to continue to pursue your study. Need-based learning will be preferable.
Mr Dylan: A lot of large scales companies have frozen their headcounts. When a fresh grad looks for a new working opportunity, you should not focus on the salary but to focus on the learning experience available.
Mr Ranesh: Many companies look for a person who can contribute but not someone who can work only. We need a leader to create a synergy in the work, not only for the job scope but also for ideas. The perfect example is the current scenario, you have to learn how to provide a solution when we face different difficulties.
Dr Choi wrapped out the session by saying the fresh grad should show the value to the organisation, join as a problem solver, not a problem creator. It is a critical skill they must have.
Mr Lee Chin Earn
Head of Transformation
Office of Chief Executive Officer at Port of Tanjung Pelepas
Mr Dylan Sih Wei Hang
Sales Executive, at Sunway Property
Mr Ranesh A/L Manokaran
Operations Executive at Schenker Logistics Malaysia Sdn Bhd