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The COVID-19 Recovery Will Be Digital: A Plan for The First 90 Days

Manufacturers are developing plans for “lights out” factories and supply chains – evidence that the rapid migration to digital technologies driven by the pandemic will continue into the recovery. McKinsey Digital experts explain how to accelerate your organization’s digital capabilities to keep pace.

Companies will need to ensure that their digital channels are on par with or better than those of their competition to succeed in this new environment.

BY AAMER BAIG, Senior Partner, McKinsey Chicago; BRYCE HALL, Associate Partner and Solution Leader, McKinsey Washington D.C.; PAUL JENKINS, Senior Partner, McKinsey Oslo; ERIC LAMARRE, Senior Partner, McKinsey  Boston; BRIAN MCCARTHY, Partner, McKinsey Atlanta

By now, most C-suite executives have led their companies to digitize at least some part of their business to protect employees and serve customers facing mobility restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. As one CEO of a large tech company recently stated, “We are witnessing what will surely be remembered as a historic deployment of remote work and digital access to services across every domain.”

Indeed, recent data show that we have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks. Banks have transitioned to remote sales and service teams and launched digital outreach to customers to make flexible payment arrangements for loans and mortgages. Grocery stores have shifted to online ordering and delivery as their primary business. Schools in many locales have pivoted to 100 percent online learning and digital classrooms. Doctors have begun delivering telemedicine, aided by more flexible regulation. Manufacturers are actively developing plans for “lights out” factories and supply chains. The list goes on.

As some regions begin reopening, businesses are considering how to return to some semblance of full speed in an unstable environment in which lockdowns will ease (and potentially be reinstated) in waves. In doing so, they will need to confront three structural changes that are playing out.



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