How an International company is experiencing the pandemic
Delmenhorst, March 2021. Over the past year and also throughout the beginning of 2021, companies have been faced with special challenges. The spread of Coronavirus has affected practically every country on the planet – but in different ways. TÖNNJES, the specialist for vehicle identification, operates joint ventures at around 50 locations around the globe and generates the majority of its sales through business abroad. At a digital meeting in December, representatives from the Worldwide TÖNNJES team including the Philippines, the USA, Panama, South Africa, Hungary and many other TÖNNJES branches exchanged views on how they are experiencing the pandemic.
Long-term orders safeguard production
The various lockdowns in particular have made the global business of TÖNNJES difficult. In the Philippines, for example, the government set extremely strict regulations. ‘Public transport was discontinued, and companies had to organize shuttle services for their employees,’ explains Salvador Aque. In comparison to other Asian countries, the island state has been particularly hard hit by Covid-19; the pandemic has plummeted the country into a deep recession. Despite this, the local joint venture of TÖNNJES in Manila is economically stable. The reasons for this are a large order from the previous year and the introduction of the IDeSTIX headlamp tag. The electronic RAIN RFID sticker from TÖNNJES is attached to the headlight, enabling contactless identification of motorised two-wheelers.
Strict lockdowns and curfews
Kenji Schneider from Panama also reports an increased demand for motorcycle number plates. Due to the lockdown, the delivery business is booming in the Latin American state, which is also suffering enormously from the pandemic. The authorities responded in 2020 with a night curfew. ‘We work in a three-shift system that we had to restructure because nobody was allowed to leave the house between the hours of 7 pm and 5 am. We also needed special permits for our production,’ says Schneider. The situation in the US is entirely different: ‘It has been challenging. Ideally we would have liked to have had more specific instructions from the Federal government,’ says Paul Fussner from Cleveland, Ohio. Instead, each of the 50 USA states had to take more of an individual, non-coordinated approach that varied from state-to-state. The inconsistent handling of the Coronavirus pandemic in the United States likely contributed to high numbers of infections.
Close cooperation thanks to digital exchange
Jochen Betz, Managing Director of TÖNNJES, sees the company’s development as positive in view of the circumstances: ‘Although sales will fall a little this year, we are still in a strong position – precisely because of the many different and diverse branches.’ The pandemic has also shown that investing in long-term business relationships has paid off. We are experiencing exceptional circumstances together, and are more connected than ever thanks to technology,’ explains Betz. ‘Even before the outbreak of Coronavirus, the health and protection of our employees was of utmost priority.’
Since TÖNNJES has been pursuing a global joint venture strategy since the beginning of the nineties and setting up branches abroad together with local partners instead of just exporting, delivery bottlenecks during the pandemic have so far been limited. The individual productions were able to react independently to the respective ‘local’ lockdowns and see to the care of the employees promptly.
TÖNNJES is cautiously optimistic for 2021. Thanks to the global network of partners and the intensive use of online conferences and webinars, not only was it possible to maintain contact with existing customers, but also to acquire new customers, despite massive restrictions on freedom of travel.