The new normals in a world where Covid-19, unfortunately, is becoming a part of our life will bring about many changes in the way businesses will be conducted, and more importantly, the way we live our life.
In a world post-lockdown where working from home is one of the new normals, brands such as Gold medal Electronics are working towards creating lighting solutions that helped a customer that’s working from home.
The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across the country and life is slowly crawling back to a new-normalcy. Businesses and brands are now are making their way back into the business; planning their communication plans for a new world post the covid-19 lockdown.
In this story of Medianews4u’s new brand series, Back to Business, we speak to Uday Narang -Chairman, Anglian Omega Group, heading the Anglian Omega Group and is taking a lead role in expanding Asian and ASEAN markets in Automotive Parts, Steel & Infrastructure projects
How are you coping up with the impact of Covid-19 on your brand & the Organization? How effectively have you used the lock-down period?
COVID has been a setback globally, there is no doubt about that.
However, I see India has largely escaped a lot of tragedy on account of early government intervention and a good recovery rate.
As for our brand, it is largely associated with automotive business and infrastructure business they both came to a standstill. However, post lockdown there has been a good recovery on auto and some other segments like 2 wheelers have recovered quite well. I expect automotive will be back to near normal by the first qtr. of 2021. On the infrastructure however it will probably take some time to get back to normal though I am sure the government will announce some big projects to kick start this sector. As for the use of the COVID period, a lot of our technology work related to R&D, design and development happens off the normal working grid, our engineers worked from home as normal and the factories, of course, remain closed. So we are quite COVID neutral in that sense.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new business opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models … What sort of innovation has or will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to your brand & industry?
You are right, every crisis presents an opportunity. In our automotive sector, we see tremendous opportunities in the Electric vehicle sector and the clean energy sector. This is due to its focus on the environment, health, and hygiene. The e-commerce sector is a large user of EV for its last-mile connectivity and is going to spring back to normal quickly post lockdown. So this is an opportunity for us. As for the infrastructure business, we see food is going to be a major business opportunity for our cold chain business. We are building large scale cold storages pan India. “Frozen is the new Fresh” is the strategy of our food chain.
While some parts of the country have become Covid-19 free, cities like Mumbai and Delhi are still in a lock-down situation. How are you planning to resume business across cities that are not in the Red?
India being such a large country cannot remain under lockdown forever. All governments whether central or state will take a calculated call on when to open, with what restrictions and precautions. By and large, we see India lockdown free by June end. Of course, people have to practice discipline, social distancing, and take precautions. We have commenced all our factories in Delhi NCR, Pune, and Chennai. All our facilities are installed with the necessary infrastructure and are using required safety measures for COVID prevention and detection. In case of any cases, we have the proper containment & communication action plan in place.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lock-down? Understandably bringing customers back to you would be difficult… What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
Our customers are with us. Apart from the existing domestic customers, we see a great opportunity for us from the new customers, particularly in the global business community. The majority of auto customers in the US & Europe are looking for an alternative to Chinese products. This gives us a great opportunity to pitch in for the components that we produce for the auto industry. We would like to communicate with the customers that we have a safe infrastructure in place and maintain hygiene for COVID prevention. We are all ready to welcome our customers again. We will communicate India as a preferred destination for doing business post COVID with all the safety and reliability in place.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
People look up to leadership during difficult times. It is the job of a leader to set good examples during such times. Corona presented exceptionally difficult circumstances for the whole world. It created a lot of hardships especially to the working-class people, with job losses, etc. As a responsible and caring company, we are sensitive towards our staff, we treat them as our family members. We took care of our people so that they won’t have to face any hardships. We stick together in hard times just as we do in good times.
For me, I am into sports and maintain a very strict fitness regime for myself. I kept following my routine and also tried to move around to meet my people with a travel pass whenever it was allowed in Delhi NCR. I believe in taking challenges head-on instead of hiding from it and sitting at home. That’s what keeps me going!
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track or at least get it in the right direction and also create demand for yourself?
As I have mentioned before, we see plenty of opportunities for us. These are on account of the following reasons:
Firstly, China will lose the attraction of several US and European buyers. For a very long time, they have competed based on their cheap cost and scale. This time buyers will realize the risk that comes along with a cheap price. So lots of regional alignments of the supply chain will happen. We see ASEAN and CLMV playing a major role along with India. This could become a solid trade block for businesses like auto, raw materials, agro products, etc. These will become great opportunities for us.
Secondly, on the supply side, we need to stop our dependence on importing from China by producing in India. Self-reliant India is the only way to be. We see a great deal of opportunity in manufacturing high value add auto parts like engine parts, electronics, and machinery which otherwise gets imported from China/Taiwan, etc.
Can you elaborate on the overview of your industry?
My overview is very positive. The auto industry should recover strongly from the 3rd/ last quarter of this year onwards. From the 1st quarter of the next financial year, we should see growth with the economy likely to show healthy growth. We see a very positive growth towards EV and alternate energy vehicles driven by sectors like e-commerce.
Of course, this year would be tough but we need to sail through this and prepare for growth in the next year. We also see a realignment of the supply chain with some companies not able to weather this storm, particularly some in MSME with large debts. We will see the possibilities of M&A in this space.