From left, Pilipinas Shell Chief Financial Officer Jose Jerome R. Pascual and Shell Business Operation Manila Vice President for Global Finance Process Lorelie Q. Osialduring the 52nd FINEX Conference 2020
By Alithea De Jesus
With the recent decision of the government to slowly reopen the economy and safely return workers after several months of lockdown to abate the spread of COVID-19.
Many businesses are affected such as micro, small and medium enterprises. The hospitality industry is the hardest hit and with the calibrated opening, they are hopeful to rebound and encourage domestic tourism to save jobs and spur more economic activities to make a strong comeback and gear up for a more resilient, bustling economy in the post-COVID scenario.
Understanding the need to provide support to businesses and entrepreneurs, Pilipinas Shell shared its three-fold recovery strategies for business continuity with companies that are looking to jumpstart the recovery of their businesses thru its 3Cs.
3Cs: Care, Continuity, and Cash
“This pandemic is creating a lot of uncertainty for all of us, but if you are able to manage the needs and you know the market very well, then you will be able to respond accordingly,” said Pilipinas Shell’s Chief Financial Officer Jose Jerome R. Pascual during the 52nd FINEX Conference held virtually last October 5 to 9.
Pascual added that the company managed to further enhance business resilience by adapting relevant business models to the current environment and new customer needs through Shell’s 3 Cs approach: Care, Continuity, and Cash.
Under the pillar of care, Shell extends holistic support to its employees and beneficiaries through financial assistance as well as programs that take care of their mental health or their current status working at home. Shell’s Para sa Bayani campaign, through its social arm Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc., a nationwide program that strengthens the Philippines’ response to COVID-19, likewise extends care initiatives for the company’s partner communities.
Continuity, on the other hand, means that Shell has taken steps to ensure seamless, efficient, and undisrupted operations at the height of the pandemic. These steps include the conversion of the Tabangao refinery into a world-class import facility; the intensification of health and safety efforts in all of Shell’s retail stations; the acceleration of digitized operations; and adaptive customer-centric offerings such as car care home service and home deliveries.
Pascual said that Shell’s approach to cash hinges on ”setting up a robust cash governance framework and implementing cash management strategies including great reductions in costs, enhancing collection efforts, and being prepared to capture market opportunities as the economy bounces back.”
Shell Business Operation Manila’s Vice President for Global Finance Process Lorelie Q. Osial emphasized the need for the company’s financial transformation in a world that is evolving because of technological advancements and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To remain world-class, companies need to strategically transform—and finance itself has to transform,” she said.
“Transformation is a multidimensional change. When we are shaping finance, we need to ask the question: what needs to be true for the vision to be a reality?” she posed a question to the audience.
Osial described a framework on how digitalization will fundamentally change the way process excellence in finance is delivered. Technology develops at a fast pace, allowing companies to employ a design, and then deliver, appraise, and improve this framework when augmenting existing processes. Underpinned by change management and a Continuous Improvement and Learner Mindset, Osial said this approach to digitalization in finance is key for businesses to extract more value from their operations.
“With the tools that are available now, you’re looking at more real-time information management, more one-touch and touch-less processing, advanced analytics, smart automation tools, and visualization tools,” said Osial.
“Aside from building the finance skills of the staff, it is essential to enable our people and our colleagues to have broader strategies on care and resilience, which in turn both drive human performance,” she pointed out.
The pandemic, Osial added, has pushed the company’s boundaries in its own digital transformation, placing it in a constant process of prioritization to accelerate progress and help it adapt to the new normal.