Written by, Bruce Mills, Director of Eagle Europe
Things started to change
Lockdown really started for Eagle Europe with the painful decision to cancel our customer event on the 18th March. We had received a really good response with several European customers booking in to be with us, when I started to get the call to discuss their company-wide travel bans kicking in . I believe it was the correct decision to cancel and statistics suggest the 18th March was one of the key dates in the course of Covid-19 spreading here in the UK.
Significantly as a business we have heavily relied on being on site with face to face meetings, walking the boards and asking the difficult questions of the warehouse and production teams at customer and prospect sites. But with a small team, we have always manged remote working and customer interaction well, unintentionally being veterans of many remote, multi and global site implementations. The last three months has highlighted this as we have turned to 100% remote working.
How were things impacted?
Across our customer base, we have had everything from companies facing complete shut-down, to customers in tick over. For example, the automotive industry faced unprecedented changes. At the other end of the spectrum, companies were working flat out to keep up with their surge in demand, whilst some even changed their focus, and repurposed their entire production line, to support the healthcare industry throughout this period. These companies, at either end of spectrum, have not been able to engage with us during this time. However, the ones who are in slowdown and partial running have been keen to use the time for improvement projects and indeed full upgrades before they return to full production. QAD have provided a good blog post on the topic of the pandemic and its disruptive effect on the supply chain and how to ride the storm. If you’re interested in learning more you can read the article here: Supply Chain Areas to Examine in the Face of Disruption
At Eagle Europe we were able to shut the offices on the first day of lockdown. It helped that many of our employees were already equipped to work remotely. With the infrastructure already in place, moving office based employees to remote working was seamless. Our infrastructure team supported all our customers who needed to quickly deploy large workforces remotely, this was completed without issue. With some projects completely abandoned and some ongoing, we have certainly seen a slowdown, but have used it to improve our internal support and delivery systems. Like most organisations, we’ve increased our use of the video/chat/conferencing technology.
The world of remote working
Remote working when delivering consultancy is something we have focused on, and we have developed ways of being as effective as possible. Microsoft Teams sessions can work very well but they require more preparation and can be very intense for all concerned. We ensure that the participants take breaks and have time to write up the conclusions after the sessions to ensure the details are all captured. In virtually all circumstances they have worked well. We took this as an opportunity to deliver our postponed customer day as a webinar session. We presented specific topics that were relevant in the current circumstances and highlighted important evolving functionality of our solution. Whilst this may not have been the original plan, we were still able to engage with our customers with ease and show them how we can continue to support them through these times.
None of this would have happened unless we had been pushed to do this with Covid-19. The whole industry believed that you needed to be ‘face to face’, now a video call is the norm and people have found it more efficient.
We believe that this will change our business going forward. We can still be as effective without travelling to sites and it will be a large benefit to our customers:
- By remaining remote wherever possible, you reduce the possibility of spreading the virus.
- It reduces expenses for the customer.
- Our team are now travelling much less every day and family time and the work/life balance is easier to manage.
- It is better for the environment. We have already substantially reduced our carbon footprint.
As I write this, we have completed our first customer site visit in the new world, a Wi-Fi Site Survey. To provide the guaranteed survey results and 100% accuracy we utilised both an on-site visit and the use of CAD drawings of a factory/warehouse.
We provide an end-to-end solution, from Wi-Fi to solution delivery. Please get in touch with our team if you have any questions and for support on anything related to QAD/Eagle RF Express Data Collection or inventory control.