Re-Opening Singapore: What Does This Mean for Our Economy?
As of the 19th of June 2020, Singapore has entered phase 2 of safe re-opening. The Singaporean government announced the commencement of the Circuit Breaker where various restrictions and safety measures were introduced in the country on 7th of April 2020. Most of these new implementations were set in motion to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
One of the regulations enforced during the Circuit Breaker saw that non-essential businesses had to temporarily cease operations, while businesses allowed to continue their operations had strict safety guidelines to adhere to. Simultaneously, many countries also went into lockdown, restricting travel and trade across the regions.
This caused a surge in popularity for e-commerce businesses as people began turning to online shopping for almost all their needs. Naturally, more businesses adapted by taking on a digital front to cater to these demands. We are observing a ‘New Normal’ showing the purchasing habits of consumers and the importance for a business to adopt an e-commerce front that might evolve the commerce scape in Singapore in the near future.
Transitioning from the Circuit Breaker period into the safe re-opening period allowed Singaporeans to breathe a sigh of relief as some of the measures were lifted and businesses could resume operations as long as they practiced certain safety measures. Although the situation with COVID-19 has stabilized itself in Singapore, there is much to accomplish before we can progress ourselves forward.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES WE FACE AS A COUNTRY?
The first major hurdle that we have to jump over is to grasp the fact that our way of life in Singapore has changed, possibly for the long term. While the cases of the virus have dwindled in the community, the threat is still prevalent and complacency could undo the progress we have made, especially since social gatherings are now allowed with certain restrictions. Practicing responsible measures has to be the effort of all our citizens to keep the spread at bay.
The way we work and do business has also evolved, plenty of us have gotten used to telecommuting and made the switch to meet via online platforms instead of physically. To name a few: digital transactions, webinars, and online buying and selling for B2C or B2B channels will become the norm as people are exposed and more open to these concepts.
This leads us to look at our situation on a wider scale. Singapore has always been an economy heavily reliant on trading with other nations. Our imports and exports fuel local businesses by enabling manufacturing, production, trade, and global exposure. Whether it may be clear to a consumer or not, globalization plays a pivotal role in our day-to-day lives.
While Singapore gradually opens its borders, many organizations or industries are still suffering from the repercussions of the pandemic. Supply chains have been disrupted due to the inability to trade with our international partners, in addition to that, it would seem that travelling cross-border is off-limits in the near foreseeable future as COVID-19 still runs rampant in the world.
Importing to sustain supply chains has become a challenge as we observe the closure of suppliers, lack of production, and heightened restrictions in place which affects the time and costs of maintaining a reliable supply chain. This calls for many businesses to re-evaluate their sources of supply, reorganizing their inventories or material planning and of course, their business model – and this is not a simple feat. The sheer uncertainty of how things might progress or take a turn poses a great deal of risk.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP BUILD RESILIENCE?
PM Lee has emphasized on the challenges that the government and country face in the coming months or years due to COVID-19. Helping businesses transition to adopt more relevant models to maintain their relevance in the global economy is one of the things they are focusing on. While the government has assured us grants and schemes to support these transitions for businesses, it all starts with the people. Improving ourselves to further develop and hone our knowledge of how we can play a part in the ‘new normal’ will give us the advantage we need to remain employable and successful.
Global connectedness becomes a crucial element that enables us to be exposed to more opportunities and expand our local limitations beyond our borders. Trading with global partners has always been a core element that fuels Singapore’s economy. Transitioning small, local businesses to expand into international territories will be what propels our potential.
As we emerge stronger from the global pandemic, we have to look at ways and strategies to safeguard our supply chains, profitability, and jobs to remain prosperous. As we upgrade ourselves and our businesses, we can then leverage technologies, communications and reliable partners to create a more resilient economy.
HOW AN INTERNATIONAL DELIVERY SERVICE HELPS A RECOVERING ECONOMY?
Many of DHL Express international offices had to cease to operate to adhere to lockdown restrictions and since the nature of our business is delivering for people and businesses, the general drop in demand had taken a toll on our network. The imposing of travel bans which put a grinding halt on passenger flights almost everywhere in the world also meant that air cargo prices went up.
Despite these challenges, DHL Express Singapore has managed to secure daily international flights after being deemed as an essential service during the Circuit Breaker. Taking the initiative to be a reliable international courier service during this difficult period, our focus is to enable local customers and businesses to still have an option to send their items around the world while not compromising on similar levels of service quality and speed that our customers are familiar with.
Furthermore, we help businesses to transition from a traditional business model into an e-commerce business. DHL Express can support local businesses to take on an e-commerce front in their venture for expansions.
As the economy goes on a slow road to recovery, we are keen on helping individuals and companies connect and expand their horizons. We want to play a part in powering up your global potential as we take on this journey to press forward together.