Business communication is very much affected by the crises. In what format do you and your colleagues continue to work?
The biggest change that Errecom has met, until now, in terms of communication is the content. Errecom is a leader company in the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration sectors, that produces also sanitising treatments. At the beginning of the pandemic, our country was facing a huge problem: companies, hospitals, and people were running out of cleaning and sanitising products. We maximized their production, moving the communication in this direction. Due to the lockdown caused by the pandemic, our usual end-users weren’t able to work and, therefore, didn’t need our core business products (leak stops, additives, refrigeration lubricants, flushing fluids, etc.). This is the main reason why, instead of talking about them, we started to inform our customers about the importance of a proper and deep sanitisation and the associated products made in Errecom. Obviously, to do so, we had to change the modalities of communication as well. Due to the travel restrictions applied by most of the countries, we had to rely on online channels, like webinars, video tutorials, etc. The main goal was to create online learning sessions where our clients could get the information they needed to live safely and use Errecom’s products properly.
It’s especially important now not to cut off communication with partners and clients. Could you share your experience with your Russian and international colleagues, how do you continue promoting your products in a situation where some borders are closed and travel restrictions imposed?
Errecom is not new to long-distance communication and digitalisation. We are talking about a company that sells its products in more than 130 different countries and, therefore, has always taken advantage of different tools, to bridge the gap due to the geographical distance. Our sales managers have always managed relations with clients remotely. Of course, due to the pandemic, we had to turn down live meetings or exhibitions, but we have found some valid substitutes like webinars, zoom calls, and so on, to keep supporting our clients.
The lockdown situation was a time to reconsider production and sales process, to improve digitalisation and to implement innovations. How did your company react on these challenges?
We produce and sell disinfectants and sanitizers, which means that for Errecom there was no closure at all: the pandemic and the health emergency have inevitably led to increased production activity.
Of course, we had to introduce new procedures and practices, that we are still carrying on, to keep everybody safe, while working. We have started to properly sanitise offices, plants, and laboratories, and by “properly sanitise”, I mean both in terms of products to use and areas to
disinfect. Using appropriate products and sanitising high-touch surfaces play a key role in reducing the risk of contamination. First thing in the morning, our receptionist takes everybody’s temperature to ensure none of our employees have a fever when they come to work. Besides, every 15 days or so, the company carries out rapid antigenic tests that allow a fast screening and diagnosis, guaranteeing everybody to work in a safe environment. Implementing these new practices allowed us to maximize the production of disinfectants and sanitisers, even though, they aren’t Errecom’s core business products. Our choices were driven by a strong sense of community, especially because Errecom’s headquarter are located in Brescia, an area hardly hit by the first wave of the pandemic. We wanted to be there for our community, and to do so, we had to review our business goals and purposes. Satisfying the growing and different market demand meant reorganise the production department in terms of spaces and rhythms to keep our machines working 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. Errecom did everything that was in its power also to support hospitals, nursing homes, and families, including sending disinfectant products for free. It wasn’t easy to manage such a huge change, but we made it!
Forecasts are now made very carefully, but still… According to your assessment at this time, when do you expect some recovery in international business, including from Russia?
It’s quite difficult to forecast what will happen shortly: the entire world is facing a pretty new challenge. Right now, our country and the whole Europe are going through very hard times: lockdown, a high rate of Covid-19 cases, people feeling overwhelmed by negative vibes. Nevertheless, Errecom’s attitude has always been to turn threats into growth opportunities. And this has been the right move we made, also this time! There is no doubt that these are challenging times, but we don’t fear the future. Thanks to Errecom’s flexibility, know-how, and foresight, we will always find a way to overcome adversities. Of course, we hope to be able to get back to travel soon: we are satisfied with the way we are managing the situation right now, but it’s obvious that face to face contacts can lead to a higher-level relationship. Our main goal is to be a partner for our customers, not only a supplier. And after all, exhibitions are one of the best ways to achieve it.