Observing the developments of the various product and service industries, I connected the dots and started thinking that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is in Play. I then went on to analyse, subjective from my perspective though, the driving need for the industry, the supply and demand balance today and probably for a couple of months to come, and the urgency in making the buying decision, a key to consumption and thus the economic activity and growth.
I used these visuals to conclude that in the current situation, the needs lower down in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are more prevalent and the urgency to make a purchase is for meeting very specific needs. I am sure many of you are already thinking of capitalising on these specific needs to contribute to our evolution. I will share my thoughts briefly on the top 5 sectors in my analysis.
1 Food Processing
Demand in this sector will never go down with us 7.7 billion needing something to eat every day. I believe, food processing industry still has an enormous potential to reduce the waste between the producer and consumer. Semi-processing at the point of production is the key. Doing so, on the one hand employment can be generated at the point of production, generally in rural areas, and on the other the exodus to cities reduced. Migrant labour returning to their home villages, is a very good timing now, for setting up such semi-processing units.
The necessity to work from home, has totally changed the landscape of education, both primary and higher levels. While the classes are being held online using various video conferencing platforms, I believe monitoring and engaging each student effectively during the class is a huge opportunity. In my doHow® webworkshops, even though I engage everyone actively either through an individual task in the plenum or collective tasks in breakout rooms, I still would like to perceive what each one is doing – as I would do in a face-to-face session.
Our social skills got developed while meeting our friends face to face during school and college. Creating a similar experience with adequate prevention and care is another huge opportunity.
Ideally, there must be a possibility to accommodate all the 7.7 billion of us in some healthcare facility, should there be a need. What do you think?
I think that this is absurd. Having so many healthcare professionals and healthcare infrastructure would be useless. However, at times of need, we must be able to generate capacity almost instantaneously. I believe there is a huge opportunity here.
Can we think of FIS for Flexible Infrastructure Systems analogical to FMS for Flexible Manufacturing Systems? I can think of developing beds that can be transformed to tables and benches, patient diagnostic equipment that can be transformed as laboratory equipment. Can we think of converting schools to hospitals at times of such acute need?
I remember participating in a mandatory training program in Germany on first aid and life saving measures, before I could apply for a German driving license. Can we think of creating a mandatory annual program with theory, practical and internship on basic nursing and patient care for at least one person per family?
I remember discussing the extremely short lifecycles of products made by Foxconn, a contract manufacturer of smart phones. Their mean time between SOP: Start of Production must be in terms of days, while in many other manufacturing companies it is still in months. While understanding and appreciating the huge effort involved in completing, cleaning, and starting a new batch in the Pharmaceuticals industry, I believe the opportunity to economically manufacture smaller batches (1/3 of today’s limitation) combined with adapting the SMED: Single Minute Exchange of Dies principles to reduce the Change Over Time by 2/3 of current best-in-class, is huge. Once the minimum economical batch size comes down, many factories can be set up in remote locations for catering to the changing needs as the current and future viruses keep mutating.
5 Retail and Consumer Goods
But for the movement and crowd density, the retail industry is very active even today and is essential both for the fulfilment of our needs and for driving the economy. The opportunity for sensing devises and monitoring platforms is enormous. Can a Bluetooth enabled sensor be used to detect the status in Arogya Sethu APP when one enters? Can we use the various simulations done on the maximum safe number of people in an enclosed environment as the basis and track the people entering and leaving a retail shop using imaging devises and then show the number of people present versus maximum permissible under the conditions of wearing or not wearing a mask, social distance maintained etc.? Can this data then be used, as the OBD (Onboard Diagnostics) for vehicles is used in Europe for providing fitness certificates, to either impose penalty or provide tax subsidies to motivate on the shop keepers? Can this information be available online for people to choose the lean periods for shopping?
Similarly, in all the other industries too new opportunities have opened from our unfortunate current reality.
Please do share your thoughts.