In these uncertain times, when information, sometimes contradictory, flood us with their peremptory truth, how to communicate or express an idea? Talk about it again or shut up and wait? How can we promote our products or even just trade when everyone is in the rush of emergency?
I have decided to take my e-pen and try to highlight what is important today, and necessary for tomorrow. My point is not to say what I know (because given the circumstances, I will paraphrase Socrates and his “I only know one thing is that I know nothing”). But to tell you what I think, what I believe and what I hope.
What I think
The situation is serious. Really serious. The peak of the epidemic is not reached yet but hospitals and care services are already saturated. The ever-increasing number of deaths every day are announced in a flow of figures, more terrifying one from each other. We all know someone infected by this virus, and we will certainly all know someone who will passed away in this epidemic.
The economy suddenly stops. As a manufacturer of printing machines, Codimag contributes in its own way with a daily opening, ensures after-sales service and support, but what about new machines that we cannot install today at our customers site, and what about the next orders with uncertain deadlines? When and how will Codimag come out of this crisis, despite the support policies for companies, historic in their amount and their scale?
When and how will my employees (I think of them days and nights), be able to resume normal activity when nothing is normal today, neither the health context, nor the supply chain, nor the business opportunities?
How can I protect my suppliers, as some of them are fragile, and whose business also depend on Codimag’s activity?
How can I count on my printing customers who, if they continue to work almost normally in this period of crisis, are also seeing a significant slowdown due to the collapse of the economy?
I think that in this uncertainty, our agility, both personally and in our management organization, will be the key. “Agile solidarity” is required with our loved ones, colleagues, suppliers, customers, agents and partners, involvement of shareholders, financial partners. Let’s be clever, smart and pragmatic! Sacrifices (in work, money, or time) will have to be assumed by all, while protecting the most fragile. Our way of operating will have to take this into account, but our work capacity will be increased tenfold and the delays caused by confinement will soon be made up. I take this opportunity to send a wink to my employees regarding the digitalization of Codimag processes. Our agility goes in particular through this digitalization of our process. It has already started, and this situation demonstrates how necessary, useful and effective it is.
What I believe
“The world will no longer be as it was before”. I have heard this sentence so many times after the 2008 crisis, where, while I was working in the bond financial markets, the world was falling apart. In fact, the world has recovered, the finance also…
However, since then, new strong issues have emerged over the last decade: technological challenges, environmental concern, terrorism and geopolitical instability.
This new crisis brings out more clearly a point that some wanted to hide: the need for proximity. And not only geographic proximity.
Dialogs between suppliers and customers, social proximity despite the confinement (did you discover the aperitifs in videoconference?). More generally, proximity to listening and the relationship between all stakeholders. We are seeing the emergence of new forms of local solidarity: the members of a French leaders association Croissance Plus (of which I am a happy member) who are offering their production tools or their assets for national or international solidarity, with the production or importation of masks for example. Helping hands between neighbours and colleagues are increasing, the communion with the health care staff every evening at 8 p.m. in France with these applauses are comforting us.
I believe that this solidarity of proximity, at the heart of the crisis, is on one hand a response to the emergency and on the other hand the expression of a need for brotherhood in the context of isolation, experienced by 3 billion people today worldwide. I do not know if this solidarity will survive the crisis, but I believe that today we need it and it we are enjoying it.
I believe that certain values will have a greater impact in the future. Industrial relocation, corporate values, virtue of the business model based on our activity as manufacturers of industrial equipment… When I introduce Codimag to new prospects, I often emphasize the values of our company: a family business, committed, with high tech products, and which brings to its customers exceptional support, with a virtuous business model where the customer has an efficient, effective, sustainable and long-lasting equipment. A different way of producing maybe, but an efficient, flexible and versatile way. The loyalty of our customers honours us and proves it. Let us make it understood by all those who have not yet tasted our technology!
What I hope
“The world will no longer be as before”. The motto comes back today as always in times of crisis. But this time, touched in our flesh and our physical integrity, beyond economic considerations, it is a fresh start to which our Humanity will have to answer. With conviction, determination, a lot of courage and everywhere, confidence. Our politicians, so often criticized, are not mistaken about the diagnosis, however. The crisis is serious, the emergency is there, but we must already imagine the “world of after”, and take opportunity of this salutary start for our common good.
I hope for a world of solidarity, relevant, even benevolent, far from the absurdities of unreasonable finance, from the world of excessive consumption.
I hope for a world respectful of its environment, because humanity will have perceived at all levels the fragility of our lives. A world where economic agents and stakeholders can act reasonably. Opportunities will arise, and Codimag will take them. But in this difficult “world of after”, the most important thing is that we do not lose the values that have been our strength for the last 42 years. You can count on me to defend them.
Let’s go through this crisis together, Let’s print the future together.
Benoit DEMOL, President of Codimag