The corona virus challenge – join the manufacturer survey

Australian Manufacturing Forum member viewpoint by John Sheridan

The world is changing…maybe faster than we want.

And, it’s not easy to think about the future in the face of job loss, business closures and the threat of possible infection from the coronavirus.

These are very challenging times but we can’t let fear, uncertainty and doubt stop us from responding in a practical way.

For that to be meaningful, we need a better picture of coronavirus impacts on organisations so that we can collectively plan a positive way forwards.

We will come through this and support each other on the way.

Right now, we need help in gathering data and information on how the coronavirus is impacting organisations across all business categories, sectors and regions of Australia. So that we can collectively better respond and act tomorrow.

We are collecting this information through a simple online survey.

The survey takes 5 minutes and is hosted here on the ED Toolbox – orange survey button top left on the home page.

The survey is anonymous and asks a range of questions – sector, location, business category, business size, business age, how many months existing cashflow can cover OpEx, business activity level pre virus and now, and expected level over next 9 months, staff numbers now, and expected staff changes, fixed costs that can’t be ignored, what is the biggest problem/s you face now?

All raw data collected will be available to every region and sector and state to use – an open data project.

The data will be analysed and reported with results published on the ED Toolbox platform in early May, as well as through other websites and networks.

This is a collaborative, national, “grass roots” driven project, involving organisations and individuals of all kinds. Sharing value.

Information gathered will allow comparison of impacts on different business types, sectors and regions, to support the “rebound” when it comes. Every organisation, every sector and every region is being affected in different ways. And we need to understand how and why to respond quickly and effectively.

How can you help?

If you are a business owner or senior manager, then please complete the survey for your organisation. It’s that simple.

This project has evolved swiftly, inspired by a phone call last Friday from Rick Holliday-Smith – Chair of Cochlear and the ASX, asking if we could put the survey together over the weekend and get it out nationally. So we did.

The survey is now being promoted nationally through multiple networks including corporates, councils, industry associations, regions and government departments plus Linkedin and other social networks.

If a region can use data within the region, then it is in the interest of the region to promote it. The same applies to sectors and supply chains.

Participating regions will be able to use the data to compare coronavirus impacts in their region, compare with other regions and nationally. Business and industry networks can do the same for their industry sectors and supply chains. Results will be available to all.

We have asked CSIRO Data61 to act as data analysis and reporting Partner in the project. Reports will be added to the Survey Results page when ready in May. Raw data will be made available to all participating organisations and networks in April, including the Open Data Institute Australian Network for researchers.

None of us can manage the impact of the coronavirus on our own. But together we can.

John Sheridan is CEO at CEO at Digital Business insights which helps SMEs maximise the potential benefits offered by the digital revolution.

Picture: John Sheridan

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