21 Jan A review of 2020 with PWR Managing Director, Peter Mellon.
| We had one focus, one real one priority to contend with, which was how to keep our people safe, from a threat we had never faced before.
| Once we ensured our people were safe, we then focused on how we could best support our customers.
| Collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders helped us succeed in 2020. It was invaluable.
| Embracing remote digital communications, internally and with customers, underpinned our ability to perform in 2020.
As a business leader, what is your summary of 2020?
When I look back at 2020, no one would ever have believed the challenges we were going to face. We entered 2020 with very good momentum in our business, we were doing very well. We were very busy. We had lots of inquiries from customers and throughout the first quarter we maintained that momentum.
Then all of a sudden, the pandemic hit, and it totally changed our business lives and our personal lives beyond all recognition. And we had to work very hard to figure out how we were going to handle this new normal.
2020 has been a very challenging year for PWR as it has been for many businesses, but we’ve been very, very fortunate that we work in the food industry, an industry that had to continue, and an industry that perhaps in some areas has grown. We’ve thankfully had a steady year and PWR does not relate to the cease in trading that a number of businesses have unfortunately had to face.
But like everyone else, we had one challenging priority to contend with – how to keep our people safe, from a threat we had never faced before.
What did you find the most challenging in 2020?
Making sure that our people were safe. That was priority number one and our biggest challenge. The first thing we did when the pandemic hit, was put in place a COVID-19 strategy for our day to day operations, that protected our people from the virus.
Once we got our health and safety strategy in place, we then focused on the challenge of how we could best support our customers in their new normal. We realised quickly that our customers were going to need a lot of support in 2020. Not only because they were going to be running through the pandemic, but because some of them would be running at record levels of production. Maintaining our support of customers in a time of restrictions was a key challenge.
We also found holding the right mindset a difficult challenge. When the pandemic first hit, I must say we were, probably like every other business, focused on the negatives. But we very quickly changed out of that mindset, and we quickly realised, that to get through this, we had to have a positive mindset and look at how we could help her customers and in turn ourselves.
What helped you overcome challenges in 2020?
Collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders was a key strategy for us. Internally I leant heavily on others to help brainstorm the right solutions. We put together a COVID-19 task force, who met to figure out how we were going to run our operations, keep our people safe and support our customers. Across the business we also implemented more daily meetings at the beginning of the day to review what we needed to achieve that day and what had been done the day before. Coming together as a collective to collaborate on solutions was a really powerful tool for us.
We also looked to work with external stakeholders, collaborating with them to discover ways we could negate the effects of the pandemic together. We engaged with several of our suppliers to try and help identify how we could keep the supply chain safe and operating and how we could keep spare parts available. We also engaged with some of our customers and asked them, what can we do to help you? We took that feedback and tried to find ways to improve our customer support.
Another key strategy was embracing digitisation. We are very fortunate in the fact that a lot of the service work that we have done in the past has been remote online work. Typically, when one of our customers has an issue, I would say maybe eight or nine times out of 10, we can solve the problem remotely by dialling in. So we had a bit of a head start on embracing remote digital communications, because it was something that was normal to us. The use of digital communications for more than just customer support was something we pushed, however. This overcame the boundaries of the pandemic and facilitated effective collaboration.
Looking back on 2020, what is the one thing you’d like to say to your customers?
Looking back on 2020, I would like to say to customers, I hope we did more than you expected. The motto with PWR is best today, better tomorrow. And we try to live that every day. And I really do hope that our existing customers will reflect on 2020 and when they think of PWR as a passing thought, I hope, they just think, yeah, they stepped up when we needed them.
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