Keeping the wheels turning in the time of corona (UK)


Tim Duffy, Sales Manager at Sunfab UK Tim Duffy, Sales Manager at Sunfab UK

We have asked our employees how the Corona is affecting their daily work in these dire times. Here is an update from Sunfabs subsidiaries. Tim Duffy, you are our Sales Manager at Sunfab Ltd. in the UK.

How is your local market doing under the current situation with restrictions based on the impact of the pandemic with limited opportunities to meet your customers?
“The market has been almost at a standstill because of limitations caused by COVID-19. All our distributors continued to work but have been working from home where possible. I still believe we will achieve budget on most of our sales but some sectors will be down as some customers are affected this year. Companies are now slowly starting to reopen but are in the process of reorganising to be able to work with the social distancing measures that need to be put in place.”

Sunfab took early action on creating a guideline for all employees due to minimize the spread of Covid19, how have you been able to follow that, any reflections, negative or positive?
“Yes, I am aware of the guidelines and look out for updates. I have worked at home now since week 12. I have remained responsive to distributors and customers that remain open via email, telephone and video meetings. I have used Zoom video meetings with customers and distributors as this seems to be the application of choice. Also used Microsoft Teams for the first time with HQ in Hudiksvall.”

How do you work towards your customers to ensure that they get the support and business needs as seamlessly as possible?
What do you focus on in your daily work?
“Keeping all customers (Open or closed) and distributors informed that Sunfab UK along with production in Hudiksvall are open and running, as well as keeping them up to date with lead times and any difficulties with shipments taking slightly longer than normal, via email bulletins, telephone and video calls has been a priority. Being reactive to questions and enquiries (more technical questions than pricing and orders, as customers taking the time to look at their product and see if there is a better solution that Sunfab can offer). I also spend time active marketing on sites like LinkedIn. Any other spare time in my working day, I have started to slowly learn the Swedish language using the Duolingo app.”

What is the common view from our customers on their business due to the pandemic crisis and do they feel that Sunfab is supporting them?
“All customers that have remained open along with distributors have experienced issues with other components or products that come in from overseas. The ongoing concern for all customers and distributors is how they will be able to work with the measures needed to be put in place for social distancing. The general feel about Sunfab is that we remain as responsive and supportive as ever and lead times are still good. They can depend on Sunfab.”

The fact that the production and office in Sweden have been up and running during this whole crisis, any feedback from market?
“Although every county has been different in the approach they have taken and the effects of COVID-19, Customer and distributors alike have been surprised that Sweden has not been affected by lockdown measures but are also happy that we remain in full production.”

Do you have any success story or a happy story from your customer engagements during this period that you have got positive feedback on from customer?
“Some new customers that I have been visiting for some time has finally placed orders for SVH pumps. They wanted to move away from DIN to SAE mounting and we luckily had units in stock in Hudiksvall which helped us win the business. The first unit is now fitted and we are discussing orders for more units with staggered delivery over a few months.”

Is your market recovering and what is going to happen in near future, your feeling of the development?
“The market will recover but it is hard to say when this will be as we will see many changes in the way people work in ‘The New Normal’. I see it being tough times right through to Q3. The key is to remain positive and focused and learn new ways to work ourselves. The UK economy has seen its worst downturn in the economy since 2008. In fact, March had the biggest fall ever. Hopefully we will see improvements as more companies open slowly and try and return to as close to normal as possible.”

Anything else you would like to say?
“Times have been tough not having the usual daily contact with customers. I believe the face to face communications are one of my strengths and miss them. I remain positive that I will soon be able to visit my customers again.