The world’s constantly changing. During the Corona pandemic, however, it’s changing even faster, more abruptly and certainly more incalculably than we've ever seen before. Companies are forced to react quickly and flexibly, adapt their working practices and also reassess their own infrastructure. Stable and efficient solutions are in demand on an ad hoc basis – whether impromtu or overnight at full speed – solutions for maintaining contact with customers, partners and colleagues are paramount . Our team is international and our locations are closely linked even during "social distancing". A living corporate culture in which individuals – customers and colleagues, including our personal and international exchanges – are central. There are many ways to maintain our customer-oriented approach!
Whether from home office or via video conference, work continues, during the Corona situation. This is also true at Schattdecor. USP is our personable way of interacting with everyone in a unique corporate culture that focuses on people and consulting – even digitally. In the age of digital, global networking, physical and spatial distance can be bridged in a flash by a phone call or the click on a mouse. This form of customer proximity demands and promotes a different way of working. Our aim is to combine the new and the proven, and to use this as an additional component in the service package of today and tomorrow.
Alexander Panyukhin, Sales and Marketing Director from Chekhov (Russia), says that a lot has changed for him, mainly in the frequency and scope of communication with customers: "Russia is a huge country, which is why most customer contacts took place by telephone and email even before Corona. But, we've intensified communication even more. The time that I had to spend on traveling before the pandemic is now additional time being in contact with our customers.”
Xu Shidong, Sales and Marketing colleague from neighboring China, adds, "The biggest difference from before is that I can't visit my customers – but they understand. They too are struggling with the situation and trying to make the best of it. That's what unites us."
Solidarity in times of crisis. Silvia Sardano, Sales Representative at the Rosate location, describes how important it is to stand up for each other, motivate each other and understand each other in the current exceptional circumstances: "I feel like I'm making fewer inroads, while at home, physically distanced from everything. But that's not true! We must also not forget that our customers and partners feel the same way. That's why they appreciate the fact that we’re available as usual."
Elisa Toazza, Manager Latin America Design, Marketing and Communication in São José dos Pinhais (Brazil), has a similar view: "We're in a completely new and unusual situation at the moment. Circumstances are changing almost daily and our clients need to know that we're here for them, listen to them and take their needs and fears seriously."
Tomasz Sibilski, Sales Manager from Tarnowo Podgórne in Poland, has worked in the home office for years even before the current crisis: "I know how important it is to organize oneself.”
The desire for normality has never been as present as it is today. Thus, step by step, Schattdecor is also trying to slowly resume normal, everyday office life – and that of course is an unfailing part of our top priority which is maximum security. Not only for this reason, but also because the personal touch is simply part of our corporate culture, colleagues, work, and also an important sign of customer presence.
Tom Haffner, Regional Sales Manager from the USA, might well be speaking on behalf of the international team when he says, "I can hardly wait to get back to the office, meet my colleagues and visit customers."
Regular interdepartmental exchanges are required, especially in the development segment. Therefore, at many locations and also at the company headquarters in Thansau, at the heart of the group, a degree of normality is being maintained in the offices and production on site to the extent that this exceptional situation allows. We're working on new products, decors and designs, and also analyzing new customers, target groups and consumer needs. Where elsewhere there are still strict legal regulations or it's not yet possible to return to locations, we rely on the additional, digital infrastructure.
Klaus Müller, Head of Sales, Finished Surfaces, knows that especially in these times, constant exchanges are required in order to work today on what will be needed tomorrow. "We're in demand today, because we're close to customers and the market. We look closely, listen carefully and anticipate what will be important in the future. Our goal must be to build on successes together following the crisis as partners and in the meantime find solutions for both sides – whether humane, economic or product-oriented. There's no doubt that we'll continue to be innovative during this period and expand our product portfolio in line with requirements and new needs. Now is the time to stay active."
Christian Zaha, Head of Decor Management, "We keep going, collect ideas, and develop. We’re ready to come up with new ideas and react to new needs on the market. Our work has, of course, changed, along with our customers and partners. If we work together, we can overcome this crisis together."
What will the future bring? Probably both the familiar and the new. Markus Höhn, Head of Printed Surface Sales: "For us in Sales, customer proximity is essential, as are personal exchanges at international trade fairs. Here, we can discuss in a personal conversation what individuals' needs are and how we can meet them by using our wide range of products and decors, that are true to our motto "One Source. Unlimited Solutions.” This is where we focus fully on consulting and service. Because nobody can currently say how long this emergency situation will last and when it will be possible to operate in this form again, we already have to start to consider what alternatives are available. This is a topic that is currently becoming more and more present in the industry. On the sales side, our goal must be to ensure maximum flexibility during these dynamic times."
Beni Kamhi, Sales in Gebze (Turkey) feels that close customer contact is essential, especially during this phase, in order to observe market impulses and react quickly if necessary. "We have to interpret and understand the market and all factors around it now in order to be prepared for the future.”
“This situation is a challenge to each and every one of us. More than ever, our adaptability is in demand. In doing so, we face the challenges, look for new ways to conduct business, expand our knowledge and facilitate creative solutions,” says Frank Schumacher, Executive Board Member for Sales and Strategic Purchasing. "We’re highly motivated, and approach existing structures and processes with an alert mind. Clarifying which digital impulses we'll integrate into our existing processes in the future – always with a view to our customers – after all, we owe them our best performance – and also to our employees who keep to this performance promise in their daily work.
As a group, we analyze how markets are changing. Our focus is currently on possible additions to our product portfolio and new technical solutions. "One Source. Unlimited Solutions" as a core element of our product strategy is particularly relevant during these difficult times. This keeps our sights set on the future.
Together with all our business partners along the value chain, we must work to ensure that things pick up again in our industry after the crisis. With confidence, fresh impetus and an adapted product portfolio, this will succeed. Applied to our company, this means that we’re all doing our best, reacting flexibly to new challenges and not afraid to step out of our comfort zone – this is what makes us special, and moves us forward."
Especially in times of crisis, communication is enormously important, as is our customary level of exchange, service and advice. Claudia Küchen, Member of the Executive Board, Design and Marketing, is responsible for internal and external communication at Schattdecor. An international design, marketing and communications team tracks current and future changes in society, in living, working and living spaces – here too, the focus is on customers, markets and needs. They work on expanding the complete package, new products and communication channels with a view to what's coming:
"Precisely because our sales, design and development team is trying to stay as close to the customer as possible and also remain networked with each other, we can respond to and build on the needs, concerns and wishes of our customers. We want to act with foresight and drive things forward. Creating solutions for tomorrow's world, based on how it will change. Nobody can predict how, but we want to remain prepared, flexible and courageous. This means together into a future that we don't know anything about – but we'll shape it together. We intend to use this message to build on our proven values and culture. As part of a large network, we’re jointly tackling this crisis with confidence and solidarity, and are working together with long-standing partners and customers on the future of our industry. It's important for us to emphasize that we’re here for you!"