Paul Smitton, Director, Customer Lifestyle, Cathay Pacific Airways says businesses are struggling to catch up to consumer demand, so future fit isn't so much a few years away but happening right now.
This is especially considering how the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation and brought digitisation forward at least 10 years. While this is good news for consumers, it has put a demand on businesses like ecommerce and their supply chains.
"We have to change the way we work, whether it is within the business using digital tools with the workforce, to help those working from home or in the office. How do we make sure that we have fully productive teams?" Paul says.
After a significant downturn due to the pandemic, the airline industry is preparing for customers as international borders re-open. For Cathay Pacific, being prepared means fixing up the little cracks that were previously visible.
In a business meeting, Paul explains that one of the directors used an analogy to explain being prepared. He said there was a small crack in the marble in the first-class lounge bar last time he flew. When he flies again, he does not want to see that crack.
"He was using it as a metaphor for wider transformation. How do we make sure we look at the customer experience? How do we look at everything that we do so that when people come back, they recognise our efforts of improvement?" Paul says.
It is important to think long term, Paul explains, "If you keep thinking in quarterly, annual, or even five-year cycles, sometimes you can miss the longer-term megatrends as well. For our industry, we've got a target to get to net-zero by 2050 from a carbon perspective.
"This means we need to prepare now for the future. We've been introducing sustainable aviation fuel by 2030, and other initiatives like that. We're bringing a lot of these things forward, and getting focused on them now," Paul says.
Paul suggests organisations need to bring forward the megatrends and the long-term goals.
"Make sure everything you're doing is being thought about from a digital point-of-view, and concentrate on removing friction within the business so that you can drive improved customer outcomes," he concludes.
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