Coronavirus: Industry pulling together in crisis, says Egerfish
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Petr Minařík, Export Manager for the Egerfish company in the Czech Republic, believes that if there is one positive to come from the COVID-19 crisis it is the way the industry has pulled together in adversity.
“During the pandemic I have felt a real coherence and support from co-workers, customers and suppliers,” he says. “We are all in one boat. When things got tough, people forgot about skirmishes and have supported each other.
“Everybody knows the situation is difficult and we all have a mutual understanding. Every call and email finishes with the words ‘keep healthy.’
“Things are changing all the time, but as we speak on April 9 our customers are beginning to look towards the end of the pandemic and starting to be a little more optimistic. We support each other in the hope that it will finish soon.”
The manufacturer and wholesaler, based in Lenesice, considered two options when the crisis started to bite. One was to stop all activity, keep costs to a minimum and put any future vision on hold. The other was to believe the ‘madness’ would finish soon and be ready for when that happened.
“We chose the latter,” says Minařík. “Our workshop is operating and our product manager is working on new products and orders so we have items in stock as soon as possible.
“For some customers we have agreed a schedule of due delivery dates. For others we have agreed to postpone delivery.”
However, Egerfish is under no illusions about the impact of the crisis so far. “We have already lost the best weeks of the season and final numbers this year will not be so positive,” says Minarik.
“Wholesale has been hit hard because the shops have been closed. We have good business online but that is not enough.
“Manufacturing staff are all working according to the guidelines, while sales staff are doing other work. Some of them have transferred to the workshop, while others are helping maintain our building and surroundings, things we don’t have time to do during the season.
“But everything has its limit. I estimate that we will be able to operate like this for another two weeks. If the stores are not open by then we will have to come up with other measures.
“It will take some time to fully recover. Some investment will have to be postponed and we will try to get some financial support from our government.”