COVID-19 changed our lives and among others also our travel habits. It has been more than a year since my last visit to China. I lived in many countries and travelled around the world and learned how important it is to build relationships based on mutual respect and trust. During the pandemic these strong relationships helped us in Evonik to navigate the troubled waters. Particularly in Procurement, it’s amazing how deep-rooted some partnerships are and what you are able to achieve with a trusted supplier. ……………………………………………………………………………………
COVID-19 hat unser Leben und unter anderem auch unsere Reisegewohnheiten verändert. Es ist mehr als ein Jahr her, dass ich zum letzten Mal in China war. Ich lebte in vielen Ländern, reiste um die Welt und lernte, wie wichtig es ist, Beziehungen aufzubauen, die auf gegenseitigem Respekt und Vertrauen basieren. Während der Pandemie halfen uns diese starken Beziehungen in Evonik, durch die unruhigen Gewässer zu navigieren. Gerade in der Beschaffung ist es erstaunlich, wie tief verwurzelt einige Partnerschaften sind und was Ihr mit einem vertrauenswürdigen Lieferanten erreichen könnt.
Today I would like to talk about experiences that have shaped my professional career. One of the most formative situations was a situation at which we were not able to produce an important product during several month and thus no longer supply it to our customers. As you can imagine, this led to an extremely big challenge for us and our customers. At that time, I was in daily contact with customers as a business development manager. What did I learn from this time? I learned how important it is to put the customer at the center of all activities! Our managing team at that time made sure that we gave the greatest possible transparency; both internally and externally. This required intensive communication and coordination. We ensured that our customers were informed about every progress in the necessary measures and derived schedules for getting back into operation. Alternative products were developed at top speed in close cooperation with our customers, and even if they were only compromise solutions, they helped to bridge the time gap. After several months we were able to get back into operation. Many believed that we would lose many customers, but it turned out that this was not the case. Personally, I could see that many customer relationships had even improved. This experience also greatly strengthened my confidence in the extraordinary capabilities of our great Evonik team.
Two weeks quarantine before meeting the first customers in China is less time for 499 things to do. But in the meantime I have become better on juggling four balls and started working on five. My first visit to Shanghai after leaving the hotel was very intense with many great impressions such as trying out an augmented reality smart glasses you can use for remote diagnosis or even commissioning. This digital hardware supported in in matter of fact end of May by starting up our recovery plant at our Austrian site in Schörfling. Due to travel restrictions in the corona, the supplier commissioned the plant remotely and at the site with Augmented Reality Smart Glasses.
Spending ten days in the quarantine before meeting first customers in China, I am surprised how normal the new normality already feels. Social media quickly makes you lose your feeling for room or for geographical distance and keeps you in permanent contact with friends and family. One hour of sport a day can also be easily mastered in a hotel room as one of 499 things you can do. Especially if find colleagues with a good YouTube tip at their hands to join in.
Have you ever wanted to unsubscribe from all newsletters that daily spam your inbox? These and 498 other ideas are described in a booklet I’ve got for my trip to China to intensify customer relationships. A good source of ideas during a two-week quarantine I am currently in Shanghai due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Curious to experience this new normal daily business fully virtual currently.