As part of our #LockdownLessons series, Bizcommunity is reaching out to South Africa’s top industry players to share their experience of the current Covid-19 crisis, how their organisations are navigating these unusual times, where the challenges and opportunities lie, and their industry outlook for the near future.

We chatted to Daniel Petrov, managing director of Peikko South Africa, to get his take.

BizcommunityWhat was your initial response to the crisis / lockdown and has your experience of it been different to what you expected?

Daniel Petrov: Like everybody else, we were concerned about how the crisis would impact our day-to-day business dealings and our activity in the marketplace. However, we ended up experiencing three very productive months with increased levels of efficiency when conducting business online through the various available platforms.

We learnt some valuable lessons:

  • Create your own strategy in times of crisis.
  • Look at the big picture.
  • Decide where you want to go.

BizcommunityComment on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your organisation or economy as a whole.

Petrov: The last three months have been slowed down for us and devastating for the South African construction market, with an increased level of job losses and business shut-downs. It will be a long recovery for the local economy.

BizcommunityHow is your organisation responding to the crisis?

Petrov: As mentioned, we developed our own survival strategy in this turbulent time. We closely monitor the impact of the crisis, both locally and internationally, and make the necessary adjustments as we go.

BizcommunityComment on the challenges and opportunities.

Petrov: The shutting down of the whole construction industry has been the biggest challenge across the board. We decided to focus on the opportunities rather than the challenges.

We decided to focus on our identity as the game-changer in the industry and spent the time working out how to think and act strategically to deliver outstanding results in times of crisis like this. We looked for the way forward on an individual business level.

On a professional level, we recognised that the design-and-build method of construction will require some re-thinking and changes for the industry. This is where our products, systems and solutions fit in well in the South African construction sector. We look forward to rolling out our products on a larger scale, knowing that they help with faster construction. The industry has to make up for much lost time.

BizcommunityHow has the lockdown affected your staff? / What temporary HR policies have you put in place regarding remote working, health & safety, etc.?

Petrov: Working remotely from our homes did not make any major difference for our team. On the contrary, we experienced increased efficiency while adhering to social distancing and keeping our team safe and healthy.

BizcommunityHow are you navigating ‘physical distancing’ while keeping your team close-knit and aligned?

Petrov: We work collaboratively online and keep communicating on the phone.

BizcommunityHow have you had to change the way you operate?

Petrov: We haven’t had to make many changes. We, fortunately, had our processes in place prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, so we did not to have to make major adjustments.

BizcommunityAny trends you’ve seen emerge as a result of the crisis?

Petrov: We really see that technical webinars will be the way forward with regards to sales, marketing, and training – and we like it.

BizcommunityYour key message to those in the sector?

Petrov: Focus on the opportunities within you reach, rather than the challenges and obstacles outside your control. Don’t give up; stay positive.

BizcommunityWhat do you predict the next six months will be like?

Petrov: It will be a rough ride, based on the South African economic outlook for 2020 for Q3 and Q4. Seeing the day after tomorrow will be based on the survival of the fittest. It will require increased levels of creativity and thinking out of the box.