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18 March 2020 – The new decade welcomed the world with a series of unfortunate events –  raging wildfires, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, geopolitical conflict, and a global pandemic. The Makati Business Club hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with Robert Joffe, President of Frost & Sullivan Japan, to assess these issues and navigate disruptions in the global market.

The discussion featured an analysis on the repercussions of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Joffe noted that COVID-19 has already triggered major trade and industry halts, share market fluctuations, and high unemployment risks worldwide. 

While each country formalizes stimulus packages to help mitigate damage, Joffe stressed the importance of each government to consider economic capacity and societal behavior as major factors before implementing preventive measures. “If you put lots of controls on the whole society, bringing the entire economy to a grinding halt, then a lot more people may be hurt by a lockdown than they ever were going to be with a virus,” Joffe shared. 

The discussion also covered how countries are now exploring ways to diversify supply chain strategies and push production sites out of China to minimize supply disruption. Joffe stated that the Philippines can offer itself as a possible solution for production expansion. 

“COVID-19 is going to bring out new realities to the market, and there are going to be a lot of companies that are not going to make it,” Joffe highlighted. To ensure business continuity, Joffe encouraged businesses to stress-test company financials and quickly develop an effective digital working model that flexibly caters to customers. Joffe expressed, “The digital disruption is being forced upon us. We all have to adjust to this new norm.”