Countering the challenges posed by the pandemic has revealed holes in the capabilities of Irish firms.

90pc of the companies that have availed of Enterprise Ireland’s Covid-19 Lean Business Continuity voucher so far have identified a need to upskill some existing staff.

At least one third believing all staff will require upskilling to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As markets and businesses reopen, this is a very fast and effective way for companies to access the right expertise they need”

The Lean Business Continuity Voucher, which is available to SMEs employing 10 or more in the manufacturing or internationally traded service sectors, allows them to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic.

The results from a survey of 50 Lean consultants from all around the country also found high levels of compliance with back-to-work protocols and adherence to social distancing measures, with 96pc of companies observed as complying with the Government’s guidelines.

Areas that need addressing

The voucher allows companies to access external independent experts and the top three areas where their advice is valued were:

  • the business strategy in light of changing marketplace/supply chains and customer needs
  • changes to the physical layout of operations and
  • process re-engineering.

Other areas included, advice on developing a new business model, advice to comply with physical distancing and hygiene issues and people management issues.

Almost 60pc of the companies approved for the voucher are in the industrial, lifesciences and consumer sector while just over a quarter of approvals (26pc) are in ICT and International Services.

The Lean Business Continuity Voucher can be applied for online with approval time averaging at less than 48 hours.

“The value of being able to tap into external expertise at a time of great uncertainty and disruption was recognised in the survey,” said Ruairí Ó hAilín, department manager, Operation Excellence, Enterprise Ireland.

“Before the consultants undertook their work, one third of participating companies expressed low or very little confidence in their capacity to deal with the impact of Covid-19. By the end of the assignments, that lack of confidence had been virtually eliminated (6pc) and two-thirds were now very confident.

“As markets and businesses reopen, this is a very fast and effective way for companies to access the right expertise they need.”

More information on the Lean Business Continuity Voucher can be found here

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 10 July, 2020

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