No one knows just when the economy will turn the corner, though consensus forecasts from economists early this year had it doing so by the second quarter. But there is still plenty of pessimism to go around.
Peter Griffith and Rob Warshauer of Ernst & Young LLP's corporate finance practice argue that the economy may not return to 2000 levels until very late in 2002 or early 2003. They argue that companies need to prepare for this potentially longer-than-expected down economy by balancing four major components -- markets, financials, operations and people.
The E&Y executives took part in a Webcasted panel discussion late in 2001. Among the group's observations and recommendations:
* Management teams need to be focused externally. In the past, companies were growing very quickly and focused on internal growth, such as building their infrastructure. In this economy, companies should focus on the external, such as reinforcing their supply chain.
* Companies are interlinked. Even if a company hasn't been directly affected by the...