Over 80% Thai businesses struggling due to pandemic: PwC report

MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2021

More than 80 per cent of Thai organisations surveyed by PwC recently said they were hit adversely by the Covid-19 pandemic, while the report indicated that successful crisis recovery hinges on improving resiliency.

The Thailand part of PwC’s “Global Crisis Survey 2021” – a global survey of 2,814 business leaders in 73 countries – explores how the 52 Thai respondents faced the pandemic, what they learned and how they’re preparing for the future.

Phansak Sethsathira, a risk consulting partner for PwC Thailand, said 84 per cent of Thai respondents said their businesses had suffered badly. Some reported that the operation and supply chain was the most affected area of their business as transport restrictions had brought imports to a halt and disrupted production. The next most affected areas were workforce and financial liquidity.

Like their global counterparts, the Thai respondents adjusted their work processes and operations in response to the pandemic. This has included implementing new technologies, deferring investment to manage liquidity, improving remote working capabilities and changing the way they communicate with key stakeholders.

These changes have created new challenges for Thai business leaders.

“Insufficient monitoring of new or updated remote-working systems widens the opportunities for malicious actors to take advantage of system weaknesses,” warned Phansak.

“These actors can pose as a trusted colleague or organisation and trick victims into transferring sensitive data. With remote-working policies likely to be in place for some time, the risk of data breaches and stolen information has never been higher. If they can steal the right information, the actors can commit fraud, damage information systems, hurt reputations and other malicious – and costly – acts,” he said.

A crisis-response team is key

Survey results show that most Thai respondents had a business continuity plan (BCP) in place before Covid-19. However, only 31 per cent had a designated crisis-response team.

Phansak said the effectiveness of a BCP is at risk without a crisis-response team overseeing the overall execution.

“Having a well-designated crisis-response team is key to mobilising things quickly and recovering sooner. In times of crisis, one single crisis response weakness or mistake can cause wider consumer and stakeholder distrust,” Phansak said.

Another focus of the survey was to learn whether companies are determining long-term threats and Covid-19’s impact on corporate strategy. Most Thai respondents reported that they haven’t assessed this, nor have they conducted an “after action” or lessons learned review.

“A post-crisis review allows you to improve your response plan and manage the next crisis better,” Phansak said.

Organisations concerned about future crises should ask what is needed to better prepare for the next disruption. Phansak highlighted the need for a crisis management strategy for organisational resilience – the ability to adapt and develop the processes needed to effectively respond to a crisis and emerge stronger.