I hope you are all well and are taking every safety measure to keep yourself safe as lock-downs continue to ease.
While we are seeing countries and businesses slowly opening up, for most fashion SMEs across Asia, the recovery will be slow and will likely take another 3-6 months.
Over 25% of fashion MSMEs in South and South-East Asia have shut their businesses as you know and we are taking rigorous efforts in making sure that our merchants can be supported in these uncertain times.
Various initiatives in the last quarter have helped us not only improve profitability significantly but also ensured we are only focused on the areas of business that need our most attention.
Finding opportunity in adversity:
1. Digital distribution partnerships & remote sales: In the last few months, most brands, distributors, factories, and SMEs have sought help with digitizing their sourcing and sales even more during COVID as they have wanted limited physical contact for sampling and delivery during these times.
Our teams have leveraged digital sales across the board and helped digitalise multiple workflows for businesses helping them with their sourcing and distribution needs even as lock-downs continued in many regions.
2. Expansion to new categories: In the last few months, we have opened up the Zilingo platform to include wider categories like health, beauty, home & living and some categories of essential goods and PPE and are seeing tremendous early traction from these. The expansion of our catalogs have enabled our partner merchants to take advantage of our tech and infrastructure and paved the way for new opportunities and associations.
I want to take a moment and thank each one of you for your individual and combined efforts, your hard work and for staying resilient through this crisis that has tested us on all fronts. These achievements would not have been possible without your continued dedication towards the company.
Razor-sharp focus on our Core Value Propositions:
In the last few months, we have sharply reassessed evolving needs for businesses along the entire supply chain who work with us. We remain focused on our two core propositions.
1. Enabling B2B Commerce: We are committed to enabling merchants to source from and sell better to one another. Now is the time when it is most needed, in the middle of this pandemic. Never before has the world seen supply chain digitalisation happen so fast and we plan to aggressively help businesses adapt to this new reality.
2. Enabling Merchants with the critical digital services: It’s fundamental to our mission as an enabler to give businesses comprehensive solutions across Software, Logistics, Marketing and Payments. Our product and services teams are hard at work to cater to more customers and their evolving needs during these times.
We have successfully strengthened the business over the last few months with improved margins across all segments and cutting down various costs. We have a strong runway to chase this big, audacious mission.I am extremely proud of all your efforts in helping scale the organisation during this tumultuous period. All of your cohesive efforts have helped us gear up for long term profitability and a hopeful future.
Prioritizing profitability in the face of COVID
While we have been so focused on expanding margins, it is equally important for us to cut down costs to ensure long term profitability in times where it is hard to predict the future.
We believe a global economic recovery will take a year or more - we must be prepared to stay on course and ready for what the market demands.
For the safety and well being of our workforce we have decided to adapt for some teams, full-time work from home until the end of Q3 2020. Most teams will shift to part-time work from home (a few days a week in teams) in some offices. We would accordingly, let go or sublet some of our office spaces. You will be intimated of your work space details from your local HR teams. The current Singapore Office will be fully functional starting August with the required safe distancing measures in place.
2. Leadership team pay cuts
We are extremely grateful to those who have opted to take voluntary pay cuts to help save numerous jobs, which would otherwise be impossible.
The leadership has taken a 30% pay cut at the very least and these efforts during the pandemic have helped save costs and use our cash reserves judiciously. For now, we would be accepting pay cuts only from the groups that have been invited to do so, and we would like to ensure a majority of our teams remain on full pay.
3. Re-locations & Office Transfers
While the Singapore office remains the Global HQ, a few positions in the SG office have been relocated to other offices in Philippines, Thailand, India and Indonesia to make the roles focused on local geographies.
For those of you whose roles have been identified for relocation, your manager would have informed you already. We will support the transition in every way we can.
4. Organisation restructure
We have as a company, realigned to focus only on key value propositions for the next 12 months and swiftly conducted restructuring exercises across various geographies. In our first phase, we downsized Marketing, Sourcing and Support teams in US, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia to adapt to our current business model and operate more efficiently.
Over the last few weeks, as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc across the board, we have executed a similar organisational restructure across Thailand, India, Vietnam offices.12% of our total workforce has been affected.
For those who were affected, I am extremely sorry.
You have been an integral part of the Zilingo team and without you, we couldn't have made it this far. I want to take this opportunity to thank you, for your service, your dedication and your effort towards furthering Zilingo’s mission. We are going to do our absolute best to ensure this transition is a smooth one for you.
In the spirit of transparency with all of our other colleagues who were not affected by the restructure - We have enabled each of your affected colleague to immediately hand over their duties to their teammates so that 100% of their time can be spent on job search and interviews throughout the notice period. The Zilingo HR and leadership team is here to drive outplacement efforts for all those affected. We wish that everyone affected lands a suitable opportunity. They will all receive experience letters from the Company and all our networks will be opened up so that job opportunities can be accessed actively.
With those consenting, we have created a roster with LinkedIn profiles and other personnel details that will assist each in finding their opportunity by actively circulating and matching relevant profiles among top investors, recruiters, tech companies, founders and CEOs that are in our networks. Every manager/leader is here to help out and will provide necessary testimonials or referrals or any other help we can do to vouch for you as you look for new opportunities.
All non-compete clauses have been waived so that our team does not have any limits for future opportunities and can join any of our competitors across any segments, geographies or functions.
ESOPs will continue to vest throughout the entire notice period.
Cliffs have been waived off, for everyone without any conditions.
As founders, it is hard to explain the sheer guilt attached to decisions of letting go of your people who have shaped the company. Dhruv and I are not exempt from this feeling and we want to assure you that we are doing our best. I understand it is a challenging time but it is important for us to stand strong and not let the noise around us deter us or distract us from the goals we have set for ourselves to achieve together. It is of utmost importance that my dear team, we stay connected and engage in honest conversations with our managers, our HR and the leadership.
We appreciate your continued support and passion and I request that should you have any questions, please reach out to us anytime.