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
How is the coronavirus crisis affecting your company?
The Netherlands government has communicated general measures to the population and to companies. We must all take responsibility and act accordingly.
We do not want to run the risk that Rademaker employees will become infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus and bring it back home as a result of travel and international field service deployments. However, Rademaker remains fully functional across all disciplines, which involves staff working under the recommended conditions, e.g. the rules for social distancing and meeting, either from home or in the headquarters. Here, we also benefit from the expansion of administration and production areas carried out in 2019, which allows more freedom of movement. We are now using modern telecommunications systems to a greater extent than previously for both internal and external discussions. For local activities, the use of our own sales/marketing subsidiaries and the international representatives network makes us less dependent on travel out of the Netherlands.
Are there any impacts on supplies and installations?
It may be impossible to adhere to stated and planned transport, installation and commissioning dates/times as a consequence of the great diversity of measures against the Covid-19 coronavirus among our customers in various countries worldwide. There are various different kinds of influencing factors, and for this reason we cannot assess the extent to which the consequences will have an impact. For this reason, we must keep legally open any possible delivery time postponements caused by countermeasures against the coronavirus. We have already communicated this very openly to our customers.
How are coronavirus measures affecting service?
Rademaker’s 24/7 service department still remains available to customers round the clock. In most cases, help can be supplied via telephone, E-mail, online access or shipment of replacement parts. The Rademaker Academy can give good support, e.g. with quick-guide instructions, for which the new media with visualization and remote guidance also play a big role. In the most urgent emergencies, Rademaker can respond by using local service technicians without breaching travel restrictions. The robust construction of the plants and high plant availability are worth a lot at times such as the present.
What is the current situation for your raw materials supplies?
Due to Rademaker’s professional internal logistics and stockholding, together with its very high vertical in-house manufacturing integration compared to many other suppliers in the bakery machine construction industry, we have so far been able to fully supply and support production processes. From the current viewpoint, no materials bottlenecks are to be expected, and we therefore do not see any danger to the planned readiness for ex-works deliveries. Rademaker can continue to work almost independently of suppliers.
Have you announced short-time working/have you needed to lay off staff?
The answer is a very clear No. Fortunately, we had no need to adopt these measures. Rademaker is currently investing quite specifically in the research & development area for our product portfolio. This department is in full operation.
Do you have special offers for your customers in view of the coronavirus crisis?
Not in a general sense. We talk to our customers to specifically implement the optimum support for them in a targeted way. We have great respect for our customers’ power to manage the organization of current tasks. Rademaker is available to its customers in a wide variety of ways to enable continued successful working. Remote service support takes place without billing, and project and marketing activities proceed via the available media without interruption to process orders and to drive forward new projects.
What are your plans for the period after coronavirus?
We are currently working on several scenarios and options. Here again, country-specific measures and guidelines from individual governments will have their effect in the long run. However, the experiences gained by specialized companies in the baking and foodstuff sector in this extraordinary situation, and what this can mean for the future, will be of the greatest importance. This will ultimately be expedient for Rademaker, and will determine which measures are necessary. At any rate, Rademaker’s product development department is very active, and has much in store for us.
The article is part of an extended feature, which was originally published in [BBI 3 – 2020]. Read the full article in the magazine: