The Dean of the University of Cape Coast School of Business, Professor John Gatsi, has called on businesses and employers to support universities and schools make online teaching and learning as effective as face to face delivery.
He said online teaching and learning required maximum discipline and congenial environment for students, even though they were not congregating at a physical learning centre.
The Dean of UCCBS, therefore, appealed to institutions and employers not to deny their workers leave during this sandwich session, merely because the programmes were delivered online.
Many universities, especially UCC, organise sandwich programmes between June and August, a crash programme that covers eight weeks to make a semester.
Prof. Gatsi was speaking at the sixth and final session of the e-seminar series organised by the University of Cape Coast School of Business last Wednesday (1st July, 2020).
The e-seminar was on the topic, “Coronavirus Pandemic: Global Marketing, Logistics and Supply Chain”.
Other speakers at the seminar, chaired by the Provost of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies, Prof. Francis Amanquandoh, were Prof. Dr Jurgen Bode of the University of Applied Sciences, Bonn, Germany; Prof. Susan Powell Mantel of the University of Cincinnati, USA; the Executive Director of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana (CIMG), Mr Kwabena Agyekum, and the Assistant Procurement and Supply Chain Manager of the Ministry of Defence, Mrs Nuzurat Aba Sam.
Prof. Gatsi said granting leave to employees to participate in the online delivery mode or creating virtual learning spaces in offices to be used during scheduled lecture times was a great contribution to the efforts of the university as that would allow the students to fully participate.
He also also appealed to businesses to create innovative engagements with students by creating virtual internship opportunities for those interested to have their internship experience with them.
Diversity and affinity
In his remarks, Prof. Gatsi also thanked the discussants, especially those from other universities in Ghana, Germany, USA and South Africa, as well as professional bodies.
He said the blend of international and national academics on one hand and industry and professional bodies’ representation on the other, demonstrated the strength of the School of Business in ensuring diversity and affinity with professional bodies in accounting, taxation, marketing, human resource, banking, corporate governance, procurement and supply chain.
Prof. Dr Bode, a Professor of International Business and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for International Affairs and Diversity at the University of Applied Sciences, explained that COVID-19 had led to deglobalisation in which many countries were now focusing on their strategies within.
He said in some cases businesses were diversifying and innovating with 100 per cent raw materials and inputs from within their respective countries, adding that although the coronavirus pandemic had disrupted global marketing, logistics and supply chain, “it has led to massive reduction in air pollution from the aviation and automobile industries.”
He also explained that in Germany, the COVID-19 stimulus packages were targeted to promote electric vehicles to sustain reduction in air pollution and meet climate change expectations.
Prof. Bode said COVID-19 had also taught the whole world that countries, multinational companies and other businesses could cut down on travel costs and still be productive and relevant.
Opportunities and disruptions
For her part, Prof. Mantel, who is a Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean of Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati, said that the global marketing was disrupted severely for some companies but created opportunities for other businesses through adaptation, innovation and diversification.
She called on corporate bodies to be bold to review their business portfolio and strategies and ensure a good balance between risk and return during the pendency of the pandemic.
Sharing the American experience, Prof. Mantel said her country had huge domestic marketing, logistics and supply chain intensity and generated diversity of internally sourced raw materials and suppliers.
That, she said, minimised the level of disruptions.
Explore local raw materials
The Head of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the University of Cape Coast School of Business, Professor Daniel Agyapong, advised companies to identify and explore their local markets for raw materials so that they can continue to stay in business.
He said in the light of disruptions in the global supply chain it was a good proposition for young businesses to revise their models and form strategic alliances.
Prof. Agyapong asked businesses, especially startups, to use mass advertisement platforms such as social media as it was cheaper and effective.
Mr Agyekum explained that COVID-19 had taught marketers to engage in constant communication and give continuous assurances to their customers about their risks, products and services as well as their innovations.
He said as marketers’ lessons learnt could be relevant for future marketing strategies and therefore called on the department of marketing to write business cases involving various experiences of COVID-19 for students and future leaders.
Mrs Sam asked companies to create a diversified portfolio of suppliers and ensure that their products were found within their countries, the sub region and globally, adding that companies with only foreign suppliers were hit harder than those with alternative suppliers within their countries.
She observed that Ghana needed to rethink an environment that could incentivise different types of suppliers of raw materials based on the positive lessons from COVID-19.
The chairman for the occasion, Prof. Amanquandoh, was happy to be part of the seminar series and praised the School of Business for putting it together and featuring experienced discussants.