Here is our first of a series of insights during COVID-19 from business leaders from various sectors in the UK and beyond. We hope this helps you understand what is actually happening across these sectors rather than speculation, helping to get businesses back to normal as quickly as possible.
We aim to post a sector each day and invite any other business leaders to contact me to take part and keep businesses informed.
Industry Insights from: Paul Mason
Company: Lee Filters, a Panavision company
Position: Managing Director
Q1. Are you still operational as a business and is this currently normal in your sector?
We have a skeleton team of senior people care taking the business, with others returning in May and a phased return to work in June, subject to UKGOV advice. This seems constant with other businesses in our sector.
Q2. If still working how have you had to adapt your business to keep working?
Obviously working at home for the skeleton team and changing meetings to Zoom / MS teams instead. We all connect on a MS team call daily to discuss what is going on and any key issues or opportunities. Critical to keep everyone engaged during these unprecedented times. Also a key test of company IT technology and infrastructure to enable so much remote working.
Q3. What’s the biggest negative impact COVID-19 has had on your industry so far?
Obviously aside from the impact on peoples lives and health, a significant and expected drop in global demand.
Q4. Have you found any new business opportunities during COVID-19 for your industry or any positives that have come from this situation?
We are about to restart our online sales channel to try to tap into the reported 400% increase in UK online purchases. The situation has given us an interesting view on some of our key sales partners so time to reflect on that. A positive is the chance to stop and think about the business, our team, the strategy and other key areas.
Q5. How are you supporting your clients out of the ordinary during COVID-19?
Nothing unique just trying to maintain clients relationships and retain their business. Opening for some of May will enable us to satisfy their open orders.
Q6. What’s the most important thing that COVID-19 has taught you so far in your industry?
The importance of diversification in terms of products, markets and sales channels.
Q7. Would you say that currently during COVID-19 your industry is on a decline, plateau or incline and what makes you think this?
B2B – certainly a decline with major movie features, TV commercials and other content activity all stopping globally. B2C – online seems “ok” so keen to tap into that with our online sales channel next month.
Q8. If anything, what more do you think the government can do to support your industry?
We need to understand the UK GOV lockdown exit strategy so we can start to plan ASAP. Nothing specific to our industry and isn’t considered essential by UK GOV.
Q9. If you are not already when do you think you will be back working from your office, will you have to adapt the way you work initially and if so how?
June 2020 – which will be phased and certain functions will continue to WFH. Product manufacturing would not start until July 2020 earliest. Our US operation depends on state law – currently CA has “stay at home” order until 31 May, which may extend again.
Q10. When do you think it will be “business as usual” again for your industry and what makes you think this?
Autumn 2020 – there are too many unknowns and variables with this pandemic and across our global markets to see any real demand until then. If a vaccine was to become available, this could accelerate a return to whatever the new “normal” is.
Q11. What do you miss most during lockdown?
Interaction with the team, clients and suppliers. PEOPLE!
Q12. What’s the best tip you can give to others to help them cope with life in lockdown, both in business and personal life?
Business – take the time to reflect on the business, your strategy and people. Will doing more of the same be right moving forward?
Personal – have a separate WFH area so it feels like you are “going to work”. Do plenty of “face time” with the team on MS teams / Zoom as important the team remains engaged and feels supported and valued. Make the most of the time to do more exercise, which is great for mental health and well being, plus it gives you some respite from being at home and with the family 24/7.
Thank you to Paul Mason from Lee Filters for taking part in this survey. If you would like to give insights into your industry during COVID-19 to help other businesses please get in touch.