Innovation is the vaccine for enterprises

Published September 22, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Former Senate President Manny Villar

OF TREES AND FOREST

Former Senate President Manny Villar

Ginni Rometty, the first woman to lead IBM, once said, “The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes you an innovation company”. This idea could not have been more relevant today as we face the crippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The coronavirus is primarily a public health issue but because of the lockdowns imposed in order to contain its spread, it has also become a serious economic issue as it threatens the very existence of businesses, especially micro and small enterprises.

For entrepreneurs the important thing to do is adapt to the new normal. If this is the card we’re dealt with then let’s deal with it. Just like everyone else, I remember feeling very anxious when we had to close our businesses. But I knew that like all the political and financial crises I faced in the past, we need to be innovative and creative in order to hurdle this latest obstacle. This was particularly true with AllDay Supermarket.

The supermarket business was one of the enterprises that had to adjust because of the pandemic and the lockdown. When stay-at-home regulations were implemented, people were not allowed to go out. Even when restrictions were relaxed, we were not allowed to accept the usual number of people who want to buy groceries. It was difficult but I knew that AllDay, because we have embraced innovation as a core company value, will not only survive but thrive in these challenging times.

AllDay Supermarkets have always believed that the Filipino deserves to be able to access a global standard of grocery shopping experience, and we believe that by remaining committed to a higher standard, AllDay will continue to enrich this experience for each and every customer. Buying groceries, after all, is not just about buying goods in the store. Buying groceries is an experience, it is a ritual, especially to Filipino families.

I remember when I was young we would go to supermarkets even if we do not need to buy anything. Sometimes we would just buy sitsirya but we’ll stay inside the store for a long time. I am sure you have done that with friends or even by yourself. Whether you are killing time or shopping for essentials you take your own sweet time inside the supermarket. Even if you make a shopping list of the things you need to buy you would still walk through each and every aisle of the store just looking around and “window shopping”.

This is the reason why we made sure that AllDay stores put premium on aesthetics, comfort, accessibility and convenience. You would notice if you visit a number of our stores from the 33 branches we have put up from Isabela all the way south to Bacolod and Talisay, Cebu, that no two AllDay locations are alike in design. The idea is to make grocery shopping a fun and great personal or family experience.

In addition, we introduced changes designed to make the retail experience not just enjoyable but safe as well. We were the first to introduce self-checkout kiosks in the country. Those of you who have traveled abroad are already familiar with this. I remember seeing self-checkout counters in the U.S., Europe and China and was amazed at how it can make the shopping experience more efficient. Plus this service also provides a safer way for people to shop. This innovation in Philippine supermarkets—the first of its kind—protects our customers and store employees as it allows the former to pay for items without anyone else handling them. And it’s extremely efficient and cool! We recently launched it at the AllDay branch in Evia Lifestyle Center in Alabang but we plan to expand to other AllDay branches.

We have also provided customers with the AllDay Personal Shopper Service. If people prefer to stay home, they can just contact our dedicated hotlines, provide our staff a checklist of their needs and a personal shopper will get them and deliver them directly to their home. In addition, we also made improvements on our e-commerce platform, Allday.com.ph where people can seamlessly do their grocery shopping online. We have complemented these innovations with what we call “dark stores”. They are standalone facilities that function as distribution outlets catering exclusively to online shoppers served by last-mile delivery providers.

Innovation is the vaccine for enterprises. The ability to understand the new normal and adapt to it by creating something new is what will allow us to thrive during the pandemic and all other future challenges.

 
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