Benefitting from digitisation 27 July 2020

Through implementing new hygiene standards, as well as making changes to its company organisation, Lederer GmbH has been able to manage the Covid-19 pandemic whilst still delivering a consistent and reliable service to its customers.

At the outset of the pandemic in Europe, Lederer’s first decision was to strictly divide its two warehouse teams into two shifts and to separate them clearly in terms of time. The company also divided its complete administration team into two groups. One group stayed in the office, whilst the other worked from their home office. “We did introduce short-time work, but so far it has been at a very small scale,” explains Volker Lederer, managing director at Lederer. “In the meantime, all employees are working full time and on a regular basis again.”

He adds: “The digitisation measures we have implemented in recent years have also paid off regarding home work. More or less overnight we were able to send 50% of our employees in purchasing, sales and administration to the home office, without work processes or our efficiency suffering significantly.”

Similar to other businesses, Lederer also completely stopped its business travel activities and instead introduced a lot more video conferences with its business partners, which have proved to be a good alternative. “So far, these measures have been very successful, as we have not had any coronavirus cases in the company,” points out Volker.

In order to create a little relief in such a difficult and stressful time, Lederer launched a home office campaign with its customers. “We asked them to send us pictures of their home office workplace, in return they received a small gift set. We got a lot of positive feedback from our customers for this campaign,” mentions Volker. “We have always believed in mutual trust and partnership. In the current crisis I think a lot of people have realised how important these things are.”

In addition to keeping a close partnership with its customers, Lederer also kept close contact with its suppliers. “We regularly asked them about their production situation, the impact of Covid-19 on their capacity, and their ability to deliver on time,” explains Volker. “By being well informed we could search for alternative sources of supply in good time if delivery or production problems were to arise with a supplier.”

Lederer’s goal for the remainder of the year is to keep the decline in sales as low as possible. “We saw a sales decline in the mid-single digits until the end of May,” mentions Volker. “There are industry sectors that are still quite strong but there also those sectors that are already experiencing a deep crisis. Over recent months we have also taken the opportunity, during the quieter moments, to complete overdue internal projects. This will help increase our productivity in the medium and long-term.”

Volker continues: “I am convinced that the Covid-19 pandemic will also lead to a further digitisation boost in our industry. Video conferences will become an important part of our future relationship management with our business partners and the home office will play a more important role in our work organisation than before. Electronic data exchange will also certainly continue to increase.”

“Digitisation has been a megatrend in the global economy for a number of years and it will only develop more in the future. We are in a good position to handle digitisation. We have modern IT systems, highly qualified employees and we are financially healthy. So, we believe that we can benefit from this big trend.”

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Will Lowry Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 814 509

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Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.

Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.