The economic impact of COVID-19 is about to settle in many businesses. If any company has seen any turbulence at all, it is just the beginning. Many of the opportunities and economic moisture we see today will disappear over time. Many businesses have gone under, and many more will follow. However, we must understand that money did not disappear from the world; it moves from one location to another. As many opportunities are closing, many more business opportunities will open. It takes those who can see where the opportunity lies to survive. Beyond seeing the opportunity, it also takes those who understand how to navigate challenging, uncertain, and unpredictable business and economic environments survive. Those who are looking at the usual source of courage and boom may be disappointed this time; even national governments will struggle. In a series of lessons, we will be drawing up strategies from an unusual source, learning from the motor park managers.
The reason most of us think motor parks are disorganized is because of the behaviour of some drivers. There is an operational structure that is well maintained by all. The hierarchy is recognized and respected by all. Like any organization that must survive in an uncertain and unpredictable business terrain, the implementation of an appropriate structure is exceptionally vital. There is a higher chance of success with a reliable and proper organization structure when a business is hard hit with an unexpected business climate like the current imposition by COVID-19.
The Discipline of Execution
As disorganized as you may perceive the motor parks to be, no one dares to violate the rules. Those who violate the structure are severely disciplined, where it pains most. If you are in it, you must obey the rules, or you will be sanctioned. The operational structure is applicable in all their branches. They are coordinated from national headquarters to the local level. Everyone knows and respects the structure. There is no ignorance. Just like a military coup, anyone that fails to appear at the appointed time is a betrayal. Some people may want to circumvent the role by going off the park to load; anyone caught is a betrayer, and the sanction is severe. A business that is facing economic or financial turbulence cannot stay off the lane. To any motor park, every day is an opportunity to survive. So, everyone must show up, and if you do not show up, you are off the ‘turn.’ Likewise, surviving a difficult business situation requires rigorous, intensive, and committed efforts of all.
Understand the Uncertainty
Although it is the goal of every transporter to carry a full load of people and goods, however, days are different, and the motor park leaders recognize this. Some vehicles will travel without full load with the hope that they will pick passengers and goods on the road. This is an uncertain strategy, but everyone is used to it once the passengers’ traffic has been adjudged as unfavourable. In an uncertain time, successful business managers understand and move on with every activity. During good times, they maximize and satisfice during the dry season. This is likewise the strategy of motor park managers; they increase fares during the festive season and may reduce fares at times to encourage passengers.
As disorganized, as you may perceive the motor park managers, they have market intelligence. They have a seamless and impeccable means of scanning the market. They buy fuel ahead once they hear there will be scarcity. In fact, they hear ahead of many people. They buy extra fuel on their trips when they hear there is no fuel on the way. They understand a difficult route and charge an appropriate rate for it. Managing a business in an inconvenient situation demands market intelligence. There is a high value for information. Market intelligent managers take advantage of information before it becomes public knowledge. The failure of many businesses hinges on mismanagement or abuse of valuable market intelligence.
Resilience and Risk-Taking
Tough times require a tough mind to weather through. It is almost impossible for motor parks not to operate in a day. Whether the weather is good or not, they are open. Bad roads and the news of armed robbers and kidnappers have never debarred motor parks from operating because everyday counts. They take many risks to travel both days and nights. The foot soldiers(drivers) are never afraid to move. This is the situation of businesses in an uncertain and challenging season. Managers lose momentum any day they give up. They must always be on the move. The journey of survivors is replete mouth-opening tales. It takes a lion's heart to take a lion's share. We will continue…..