What Can the Pandemic Teach Us?

By John Costello / May 20, 2020 / www.diamonds.net / Article Link

RAPAPORT... How we manage disruption and upheaval will always be a defining moment. And the lessons we learn during these challenging times will be vital to our future longevity. What we have experienced as an industry over the last several months is unprecedented. Now that we are slowly emerging from the peak of this crisis, it is time to understand what the COVID-19 pandemic can teach us.One thing seems for sure: We are not going to snap straight back to normality. The production and distribution of a vaccine is still some way off, and in the meantime, we will most likely continue operating in the shadow of this virus into 2021. This will have immense repercussions for our industry. International travel will be affected for a long time, and there is no guarantee that the major trade shows will return next year. We therefore need to reassess and adjust.Each business along the lengthy pipeline of the diamond and jewelry sector needs to consider how it can recalibrate in order to minimize the negative impact of the situation in which we find ourselves. How can we build resilience and effectiveness into our daily operations to cope with future - and most likely inevitable - shocks? These could emanate from another outbreak of the coronavirus or a global financial crisis. No matter the cause, we should all be looking at how to make our business models more robust and flexible. There is little doubt that one of the greatest impacts this situation will have is to force businesses to broaden their digital presence and deliver complementary online and offline experiences for customers. The omni-channel approach has been gaining traction for retailers, but needs to be embraced on a broader basis. Being able to engage with our customers in a digital environment will be key to cushioning the blow of any future lockdowns. The overall lesson the coronavirus should teach us is that we must be able to adapt, and even thrive, during times of disorder.John Costello is the Publisher of the Rapaport Group.john.costello@diamonds.netThis article was first published as "Note from the Publisher" in the May issue of Rapaport Magazine.Image: John Costello. (Ben Kelmer)