More than a year after the outbreak of the corona pandemic, we are reflecting on this challenging time and are taking stock. The pandemic has left its mark on LNConsult - some things have been challenging; others have developed positively. Managing Director Thomas Mayr reflects on the last few months in an interview and highlights the effects of the crisis on business relationships, corporate development and regional and international activities.
How did LNConsult deal with this uncertainty?
Thomas Mayr: The supply chain and IT industry are constantly changing - no question about that! But COVID-19 has shown us that changes can occur incredibly quickly and unexpectedly. A global event like this means uncertainty, standstill and reorientation in many ways. The first months up to summer 2020 were dominated by uncertainty. We experienced insecurity from both directions, externally (markets and customers) and internally (companies and employees).
Have you been economically forced to change your business strategy or to cut staff?
Thomas Mayr: We set up the company by establishing a broad portfolio many years ago and placed our emphasis on supply chain & intralogistics consulting as well as digital solutions (mobility hardware, network / WLAN, master data, smart label technology and smart signage). As a solution provider along the digital supply chain, we have gained enormous expertise and benefit from this specialization today. But the one thing that kept us in business during that time is our strong customer network. Our customers always outlined their trust in us - before COVID-19 and throughout the crisis. Of course, such a trust-based relationship is not developing from one day to the other. We always understood our customers as partners - that is a very important principle of our daily business. We meet at eye level and learn from and with one another. Our customers appreciate this attitude and approach.
Thanks to our customers, we were neither forced to change our business strategy nor to think about downsizing. On the contrary: we already started to enlarge our team in 2020 and we will continue this HR initiative in 2021 - both at the headquarters in Fernitz near Graz and also internationally. Germany, Russia and India in particular are considered in our growth strategy.
How do you intend to strengthen your position in Russia and India?
Thomas Mayr: With our partner in Russia - Smart Price LLC - we want to put emphasis especially in the expansion of supply chain and intralogistics consulting expertise. We also have a strong presence in India thanks to our partner Aurify Systems. The close cooperation leads to an unbeatable leadership in the areas of supply chain management & intralogistics consulting combined with artificial intelligence and video analytics. This transfer of know-how is not only economically important for LNConsult but also opens up room for new innovations as well as complementing our solution portfolio.
You rely on local partners and keep using the term partner when talking about your customers. To which extent does this state of mind influence your business relationships?
Thomas Mayr: We always rely on our principle of delivering every project for every customer in top quality. The trust built among our customers this way is the building block for a partnership in the truest sense of the word and ensures long-term joint business development
The global pandemic demonstrated that everything could change very quickly – even if the whole world seems to be in pause-mode. Thanks to our great customers, the right business strategy, a fantastic team, and admittedly, a little bit of luck, we were able to survive the last year - we are now, so to speak, crisis-tested and even stronger than before. We can proudly announce that we are a stable anchor for our customers and for our employees. And this, in turn, is only possible because our customers relied on LNConsult even during the COVID-19 crisis. The relation with our customers has always been characterized by respect and appreciation. Today there is also a good deal of humility that is tying us together even more.