In the midst of a world-wide health crisis, businesses which are able to adjust and offer different services to their clients may well be the ones which survive when others do not.
Three Ontario-based companies – Mobistream Solutions, Kegshoe and CapacityM – are working with clients across a variety of sectors including automotive, medical, hospitality, banking, travel and public sector in order to lessen the impact Covid-19 is having on the economy.
Kegshoe built its client base by helping Canadian breweries keep track of their kegs by logging sales, storage, delivery and turnover times to help them become more efficient.
Now, with bars and restaurants closed across Canada, Kegshoe’s marketing lead Nick Amador said his company is recommending clients consider curbside delivery and pickup options in order to continue selling their products.
“They’ve already had to cut capacity but in order to sell what they are brewing, they have to make it as easy as possible to get their product in the hands of consumers,” said Amador. “It’s a cool time for innovation and if you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you have to change the way you do business.”
“And the only thing which matters is the ability to move product,” he added. “You have to take as much legwork off consumers’ hands by making clear on your website that you are willing to deliver.”
We’ve just launched our craft support directory, https://t.co/hKuwo1auFF. Visit the link to purchase beer-for-delivery and gift cards from your locals, as well as to add any that aren’t yet on it! ? #sustaincraft pic.twitter.com/emWMxNoB1I— Kegshoe (@kegshoe) March 30, 2020
In addition to home delivery, that could also include offering gift cards for future use as well as discounts.
“When it comes to hospitality, there’s no way of knowing when businesses will re-open because of the issue of social distancing,” said Amador. “This industry was probably one of the first to be affected by the new rules and may well be the last to come out of it.”
Amador said Kegshoe has been able to keep its seven employees working because, as a software company, they have much lower overhead than many of their clients.
“As we navigate through this, we will see which companies are fit to fight, so to speak, and we will see which come out the other end stronger and more competitive,” said Amador.
“There’s a much different supply chain at play now.”
CapacityM, meanwhile, has switched from matching clients needing manufacturing space with clients who have extra capacity in their plants to connecting suppliers with manufacturers who are willing to pivot and produce much-needed medical supplies for health-care providers.
“There’s a much different supply chain at play now,” said Marcus Gaughan, CapacityM’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “Our role is to determine the capabilities of both manufacturers and suppliers so we can make the right connections and get these much-needed products into the right hands as quickly as possible.”
Manufacturers across the globe are pivoting from their normal manufacturing products including automotive and looking at alternatives to help fill orders for the medical field.
Automotive manufacturers and local 3D printing companies are creating protective shields and masks and distillers are making hand sanitizer to name just two examples.
“Our original role was to match manufacturers which needed capacity with manufacturers which had room in their plants and today, we’re matching suppliers with manufacturers,” explained Gaughan. “We’ve pivoted to help make these connections as efficiently as possible.”
Gaughan said that diversification is important at anytime and many of the companies which are retooling their plants may well continue manufacturing medical supplies as a portion of their overall production efforts.
For Nick Scozzaro, co-founder and chief technology officer at Mobistream Solutions, adapting to changing situations amid a pandemic, is extremely important for those seeking to remain competitive in a global marketplace.
As a result, Mobistream is accelerating its development of a new series of projects designed to help clients in such sectors as banking, travel, government services and manufacturing.
“More and more businesses are turning to virtual meetings and consultations because their offices are essentially shut down during this pandemic,” said Scozzaro. “We are working to develop an enhanced suite of software systems which will increase security and assist our clients in becoming more confident with conducting business remotely.”
Scozzaro added that rules governing business activities during the pandemic have given his company the time to advance projects and make them available to clients in a more timely manner.
Mobistream already provides communication systems to allow businesses to transfer files and provide opportunities for them to move forward with confidence.
The company also provides software strategies, mobile and web application development and mobile platforms as well as innovation strategies and analytics.
“It’s a time and opportunity for everyone to be creative and work collaboratively to take advantage of technology advances,” said Scozzaro. “We’re also recommending that our clients take advantage of as many government stimulus programs as are available to help them get through this pandemic.”
Crisis the ‘Catalyst to Creativity’
Adam Castle, Director of Venture Services for WEtech Alliance said the majority of the 180+ companies in their active portfolio – which includes Mobistream Solutions, Kegshoe and CapacityM – are thinking carefully about the potential solutions they could provide as a direct response to COVID-19.
“The beauty of being an agile and adaptive startup is that you already have experience in knowing when and how to pivot to meet rising demands,” said Castle.
He went on to describe the spectrum of response he’s seen. “From simple changes like re-framing marketing, and re-purposing existing products, to fully designing brand new solutions from the ground up, crisis is often called the catalyst to creativity, and that’s on full display here in our regions tech sector.