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bbi-2020-03-Corona and its impacts (König excerpt)
Coronavirus microscopic view. Floating influenza virus cells. Dangerous asian ncov corona virus, SARS pandemic risk concept. 3d rendering illustration

Everything that is currently doing the rounds about estimates of the coronavirus pandemic’s impacts is still derived from past global crises, and is not very specific or relates only to individual sectors. baking+biscuit
asked around and heard assessments of the crisis by suppliers to the industry, and how they are responding to it.

Signals from the baking sector differ as much as the structure of the businesses themselves. News reports day after day carried photos showing empty bread shelves. While trade suppliers activated all their spare production capacities, the situation among artisans, catering and chain stores looked quite different.

By using to-go concepts and deliveries, companies with a large proportion of catering were forced to attempt almost overnight to prevent the turnover collapse becoming life-threatening. Moreover, all the artisans suffered from consumers reducing their shopping trips and visiting as few businesses as possible, which tended to favor the food retail and prepacked goods on bread shelves.

“Please maintain social distancing” is the order of the day in shops. All those that have them use drive-in counters. In double-quick time, others open a pop-up drive-in at a former filling station. Opportunities to cushion losses are also available on the web. It’s the age of online stores and delivery services.

How bakery machine constructors are dealing with the crisis
f2m-bbi-20-03-production-König Maschinen Logo
How is the coronavirus crisis affecting your company?

Because our status as a production operation means we make an essential contribution to maintaining supply chains, certain areas of our business remain unaffected by possible curfews and travel restrictions for the time being. Thus our production operations are continuing, while maintaining safety precautions. We have also arranged a large number of home office workplaces to give our employees the best possible protection.
At this point, we owe a big thank you to our employees, who are supporting us with great optimism and understanding in maintaining the operation of the business.

Are there any impacts on supplies and installations?

At the present time, taking additional legal and safety aspects into account, carrying out installations is possible to only a limited extent. We are experiencing very open, understanding communication with customers here, because of course bakeries also give top priority to employee health.

How are coronavirus measures affecting service?

Our global 24/7 service hotline and our service team are available as usual. Spare parts can be ordered and supplied/delivered as before. Service deployments will be undertaken to only a limited extent for the time being. We are, therefore, doing our best to support our customers by using remote maintenance.

What is the current situation for your raw materials supplies?

As a production operation, security of supply is one of our very important aspects. Our raw material supply remains guaranteed due to our widespread network of suppliers and our purchasing department’s long-term planning

Have you announced short-time working/have you needed to lay off staff?

In times of uncertainty, it is very important that we stress we have not laid off any employees. By using the “Corona Short-time Working” model, the Austrian federal government has found a way to temporarily reduce normal working hours and thus reduce companies’ labor costs. After exhaustive evaluation, we have also adopted this option. Our aim in using it is to retain all employees as far as possible.

Do you have special offers for your customers in view of the coronavirus crisis?

Our offer consists of continuing to support our customers by all the means available to us, to ensure the security of their production operation. This support consists of the supply/delivery of spare parts, our global service hotline, and the provision of advice by telephone and/or via remote service.
In these challenging times, we should like to thank all the bakeries that are maintaining the supply chain and are providing people throughout the world with one of the most important foods – BREAD.

What are your plans for the period after coronavirus?

We observed a very positive development and willingness to invest in the bakery sector at the start of this year. We hope this trend will be continued in the time “after coronavirus”. The Südback trade fair in October will be an important indicator of this. We look forward to this trade fair with optimism, and are currently planning trade fair innovations. Our main focus in this respect is on the topics of hygiene and efficiency, to ensure our plants can be cleaned even better and quicker, thus giving customers maximum plant availability.

The article is part of an extended feature, which was originally published in [BBI 3 – 2020]. Read the full article in the magazine: