SMEs must change business operations to prepare for recovery in digital age

KUALA LUMPUR: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) must transform their business operations in the digital age and start preparing for early business recovery by year-end or even by the third quarter of 2021, an Asean expert in human resource said today.

GKK Consultants Sdn Bhd group chief executive officer Gajendra Balasingham told Bernama that he based his optimism for recovery and return to normalcy on increased vaccination rates and continued government support for businesses.

Nevertheless, he cautioned that although the raging Covid-19 pandemic was not predicted, businesses should be prepared for similar disruptions in the future.

With businesses backed by various forms of support, he said the onus is on the SMEs to fully exploit the benefits given to them, the latest being the National People’s Well-being and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih).

Lauding the government for the recent RM150 billion Pemulih aid package, he said the ‘war cry’ for companies to work towards recovery was for everyone, particularly SMEs, which could no longer remain complacent.

“If no pro-active action is forthcoming from them to change their operations in areas such as digitalisation, they could face another bleak year or possibly go out of business altogether,” he said.

Noting that more and more of Malaysia’s population were being vaccinated to curb the spread of Covid-19 with a record 421,479 doses of vaccine administered yesterday — the highest in a day, he opined that the usual everyday life, business operations and social activities could return to an almost normal situation by year-end.

“We are now in the digital age, the industrial era is long past (and) after 16 months of being in this lockdown, enough is enough. We cannot blame, groan and mourn about the uncertainty of the future,” said Gajendra.

He said that nobody could have predicted such an unexpected and unpredictable worldwide event.

“Although it was not forecast, we must be prepared for similar disruptions in future.”

The SMEs should seriously re-engineer their office dynamics with new digital technologies in place, team’s skills competency and resources, and be ready to work in a resilient environment.

“With a direct fiscal injection of RM10 billion, every individual, SMEs, companies, associations and even non-governmental organisations owe it to themselves to work their level best towards a ‘fast recovery modus operandi’.

“So many avenues have been offered for people and SMEs to receive financial aid and become self-reliant,” said Gajendra.

Even new graduates and unregistered Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) contributors could register at MYFutureJobs to receive allowances that would help them cope for a short-term period.

He said that companies should now consider a whole, new mindset wherein their teams and office systems should blend and interact with new technology implementation and clients informed with proper processes and procedures well laid out.

“Working with key government agencies, we worked and reskilled some 400 retrenched individuals over a one-year period whereby some 150 individuals were back in the workforce.

“SMEs should not waste any more time moping but start reinventing their business operations,” he said. – Bernama