As business begins to rebuild across the country, AMP speaks to Van Os Medical to gain a deeper understanding into how it handled operations throughout the pandemic.
AMP: How has Van Os Medical managed business over the pandemic?
VM: We had already foreseen the potential for a lockdown following conversations with partners in Hong Kong and China, so on a product and operational sense we could plan stock levels to cope with a potential huge downturn in sales for a prolonged period.
What we always wanted to ensure was that we remained open where possible to give a presence and offer customers the ability to have a point of contact even it was just to facilitate after sales and parts calls. Looking back now this was the correct decision, the feedback we have had was that it was reassuring to know we were there to support.
I didn’t see the benefit at all of taking the furlough option and in effect putting the business into a summer hibernation period, I think we have a duty of care to remember the users of our products.
AMP: Can you give insight into how dealer relationships have worked over the last 3 or 4 months?
VM: Again we remained open, and those that did the same out in the field so to speak always had the ability to contact us and to place orders or seek advice. The most positive thing I would say is that dealers supported us in a way that we could never thank them enough for, which was to continue to meet their financial obligations.
Even though sales took a hit of around 60% we still remained fully confident that they would return to strength as soon as the green light was given to return to a form of normality.
AMP: What lessons have you learned as a business throughout?
VM: We are a service provider as much as a distributor – closing that point of contact is not an option. We are very happy we took the decisions that we did.
AMP: How were product stocks managed to cope with the lockdown?
VM: We continued to receive deliveries throughout, albeit we did manage to delay some items arriving. We had to ensure beyond anything that we had the ability to bounce as soon as lockdown ended. To be sat there on the 1st June with a half empty warehouse would have been a poor choice.
AMP: Looking ahead, what changes/plans does the Van Os team have for the rest of the year and into 2021?
VM: We have already seen a nice return to normality in terms of sales since June, what we want to do now is to further ensure that we are known as the company that others can rely on and build their companies around.
Stability, stability and stability. Dealers now need to have support not only fiscally but in terms of trust. I see no reason why we need to retract on the levels of trust we had in them pre Covid. The industry will change no doubt, as will all retail. But sometimes these forced upon changes actually ensure that each company is ‘fit to go’ and really that’s what we all want.