Skip to content
Blog 01.06.2020

Companies should already start looking beyond the pandemic

Business Finland’s global network of experts has kept a sharp eye on the battle against the coronavirus around the world. At the same time, it has produced important information for the customers and decision-makers. The world is already preparing for the Post-Covid-19 era. Now it is time for Finnish companies, too, to turn their attention to the new challenges of export.
Risto Vuohelainen

Director, Global Network
Business Finland

It is generally believed that the peak of disease in Europe is over, and that operations will start to return to normal during the summer of 2020. There is a lot of variation between industries. Some fields such as the packaging industry, online shopping and the game industry have grown stronger, while the drop was sharp in other fields such as the automotive industry.  In fact, the automotive industry is one of the industries that has suffered the most – which affects both the major countries in automotive industry as well as their subcontractors in Algeria, Morocco and Eastern Europe.

Observations from around the world

  • People are feeling hopeful, but forecasts are shadowed by the uncertainty about how long the pandemic will last.
  • In some countries, recovery may be slow without international support packages.
  • The demand is becoming weaker in countries that are highly dependent on oil income.
  • The low price of oil may reduce the demand of sustainable new energy solutions.
  • Major changes in exchange rates may reduce the demand of foreign products.
  • Different forms of internal support in different countries may distort the competition.

Still, the most important thing is to prepare for an increased demand now, because when the situation becomes easier, it will already be too late to think about it.

Digitalization and automation have helped people stay connected to everyday life

The pressure to change operating methods has also changed attitudes towards new technologies: they are now seen as factors that support and maintain social security nets rather than a threat.

Notes on industries

  • In the future, health technology will rise to the list of purchasing priorities in many countries.
  • The demand for affordable health technology solutions will increase especially in developing countries. This may also be a challenge for the Finnish high technology solutions.
  • Digital tools and solutions related to remote work will be needed and developed in the future, too.
  • Electronic commerce has been growing rapidly, and it is believed that consumer habits are changing permanently to the benefit of online shopping.
  • There is also a need for smart logistics solutions as well as digital payment transactions.
  • It is believed that the demand for information security solutions will rise especially in the health sector, but also in other digital solutions.
  • Many countries have started using various kinds of distance learning methods, but deficiencies have often been discovered in the systems, software and learning applications. New actors are needed to create solutions to support distance learning.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the experts in our network also contacted the subsidiaries of nearly 400 Finnish companies abroad. The result of the survey is both surprising and expected. The whole world is wrestling with the same problems. There are naturally regional differences, but in the end, they are fairly small.

The functioning of the industrial supply chains is a major challenge everywhere, especially in North America, where there are problems with product deliveries from China. In fact, it is believed that supply chains will become more and more local, and obstacles to trade and tariffs will be increased.

The finances of companies everywhere are suffering, and major difficulties have been reported in Latin America in particular. In India, all sectors with the exception of the information and communication sector are badly stuck. Social networks help businesses in their struggle for survival in Latin America and East Asia.

Business Finland is already helping companies virtually with their export efforts

Business Finland's international network has been thinking about new forms of service in the time shaped by the pandemic and the situation, in which normal travel, and therefore also meeting people face to face, is impossible. The customers can already use our digital services. As the situation returns to normal, travel is still restricted, which means that online cooperation will continue for a long time.

Recovery is difficult to predict, and improvement may be faster than what can currently be estimated. This is why it is important to monitor the situation continuously in different countries and change the plans as needed.

This work will continue in the different target countries of the whole Team Finland network. The companies must also prepare for different scenarios, the world returning back to everyday life, and how the companies themselves can react quickly to increased demand in a new environment.

Further information