spo-comm Marketing: Hi Michael, hi Bernd, and welcome to this year's interview. The mere fact that we are sitting together via Teams this time and not in the spo-comm meeting room speaks volumes. Tell us how did you get on?
Michael Sporrer: I have probably never seen as few people in the office as I have this year and it was very challenging in all respects. The whole Corona issue really had a significant impact on the way we work. With the beginning of the lockdown, our sales and marketing teams started to work from home. Fortunately, we started rolling out Microsoft Teams back in October last year. That makes communication much easier in these difficult times. And there was also a lot to consider in our production. The required distancing regulations meant that fewer people could work at the same time. This in turn had an impact on the entire production planning. Nevertheless, our production is doing everything it can to deliver the orders in the usual time and quality. I'm really excited about that.
Bernd Moosmüller: 2020 was really a challenge for everyone, especially for the employees. But everyone reacted extremely flexible, so that we could actually work from home almost exactly as before. And we could continue to deliver. Our customers didn't notice any difference: prices and delivery times stayed the same and we didn't have to cut back on our services either.
Michael Sporrer: I think we got a good balance. It is important to us to protect the health of our employees. At the same time, however, business had to continue, not least to keep the jobs. Some of our regular customers are struggling with enormous losses, as industries such as event technology and exhibition stand construction are suffering from the crisis. At the same time, we were able to win new industrial customers with great potential, so that by and large, and especially given the circumstances, we are satisfied with how the year went for us.
Marketing: And we were even able to hire new colleagues!
Michael Sporrer: Yes, exactly, Victor Mention replaces our previous executive assistant and Kim Schrickel, who is doing her apprenticeship as an IT system management assistant with us, is a great support for our sales team. It is of course difficult for a trainee not to sit with the direct contact person in the office but to work from home, but Kim does it really well. I am very happy with the new ones.
Bernd Moosmüller: Me too! And that although it was definitely not easy for them at the beginning. It's wild when you come to the office and everyone runs off (laughs). But they both get involved really well and work independently. They were really lucky!
Marketing: Let's take a look back: In February we exhibited at the ISE in Amsterdam for the last time. How did you experience that?
Bernd Moosmüller: Our participation was good, but now the fair has lost its appeal twice. Even before Corona we had more or less decided not to take part anymore because Barcelona is logistically difficult. Now it is questionable whether the ISE will still take place next year, yes, whether the topic of face-to-face fairs has not been dealt with anyway. We have therefore been looking for new ways of communicating with customers for a long time, be it virtually or, if allowed again, on site.
Marketing: And what about new product launches?
Bernd Moosmüller: Unfortunately, there were only a few new product presentations last year. This is in large part because Intel is increasingly struggling to deliver and fails promises. Therefore, there are only a few developments at board level. The successor to the Windbox II Quad will definitely come next year. And maybe also products for new markets and other successors.
Marketing: For example?
Michael Sporrer: We're thinking about a passive KUMO model, but let's see. In addition, we are still thinking about introducing a completely new series with panel PCs again. That would also be of interest to the manufacturing industry.
Bernd Moosmüller: The prerequisite is that we can run our spo-comm system, which means that the panel PCs must be individually configurable for the customers.
Marketing: We all hope that the Corona crisis will be over one. What will happen to home office at spo-comm then?
Michael Sporrer: In the current situation, I think home office is great as a flexible instrument, it is necessary and it works well. But in my opinion it is good for the whole company structure to be more in the office. For me, face-to-face communication is extremely important and I think the company lives through the presence of the employees. But that's also a personal thing. My home is my castle (laughs), I just need an external workplace to be able to separate work and private life.
Bernd Moosmüller: I think the flexibility we gain through home office is great. With us it was born out of necessity and it's going great. I also believe that it will continue to be with us in the future. Of course, it always depends on the particular activity. It has great advantages for conceptual work, for example, because you are simply undisturbed. And it is also practical for employees with children or long journeys to work. At the same time, we have to remember that it looks different at everyone's home and that we as an employer cannot influence it either. Not everyone has their own study with a desk and ergonomic chair. Overall, however, I am very positive about it and I am curious to see how it will develop further.
Marketing: We still have one topic, our long-running favorite: the new website ...
Bernd Moosmüller: At the moment I am somewhat optimistic and dare to make the forecast: We can still do it this year!
Michael Sporrer: I would be happy when it starts. It would really be a huge improvement because we have so many new ways to make the shopping experience more enjoyable for our customers.
Marketing: Is there anything else on your mind?
Michael Sporrer: This year I saw that I can rely on our employees even in difficult times. I am optimistic and positive about the new year, and hope that normality will return to some extent in the second half of the year!
Marketing: These are nice closing words. Thank you for the interview!