Co-ops must lead on challenges in post-pandemic era

Two men in workshop

Where to from here? That’s the big question facing every business, and every industry, as the world slowly begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Where to from here? That’s the big question facing every business, and every industry, as the world slowly begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a question organisations like Capricorn, with thousands of Members across Australia and New Zealand, must play a proactive role in answering. It’s our duty to recognise that going back to “business as usual” is not enough to meet the challenges we face – particularly in the automotive industry. We have a chance to shape the future. And, as we look ahead to the International Day of Cooperatives on 3 July, I can’t help but think: who better than a member-based organisation to lead our industry towards that future?

Two men in front of warehouse

There are numerous challenges we face as we emerge from the pandemic. While Australia and New Zealand has been riding out the pandemic more successfully in human terms than most other countries, the true scale of the economic damage caused by COVID-19, and by the measures we’ve had to take in response to it, is not yet known. A strong and unified response from governments, businesses and the community has prepared us for a robust recovery.

But there are other challenges, too. Challenges we’ve known have been coming for some time. The march towards the electrification of vehicles and the resulting technological changes. Climate change. Skills shortages. Falling margins. Changing customer demands. These challenges aren’t just going to go away. Indeed, the pandemic may have expedited them and, therefore, our need to respond to them.

These challenges affect everyone – and certainly affect every business across the automotive aftermarket. Workshops and automotive business owners cannot tackle them alone. But, just as our national response to the coronavirus showed, there is power in unified action. If we work together, we can rise to meet the challenges ahead.

That’s why cooperatives are ideally placed to play a central role in leading our respective industries into that future. Cooperatives put their members’ best interests at the centre of every decision they take. That shifts the conversation – the dynamic – in the market. It puts the human, and the humanity, back into decision-making.

Three men in workshop

For members, it means they know someone has their back, and that they can leverage the power of the collective.

For the cooperative, it means there’s a driving imperative not just to support, but to lead and to innovate in the interests of the group.

At Capricorn, we’re proud of what we’ve been able to do for our Members for over 45 years. Over this time, we’ve continually asked you, our Members, how we could be useful. This has meant we’ve been able to pivot as required, and deliver on your needs.

Especially during COVID-19 it has meant implementing a range of support options to help you, our Members survive and thrive over the last 18 months.

For me, and for the entire Capricorn team, “where to from here” means rising rapidly to meet the challenges ahead – because “business as usual” will never be enough.

Yours in cooperation,

David Fraser
Capricorn Group Chief Executive Officer

This article was published 11/06/2021 and the content is current as at the date of publication.