A fair partner can be identified in a crisis
Intermediate Corona update from Hirschau: thanks to digitalisation and Omnichannel the company, employees and business partners have weathered the crisis well so far.
Simple: Full capability to act thanks to comprehensive digitisation
Fast: 99.5% of employees in home office within three days
Comprehensive: The human factor and customer service matter most for Conrad - especially in times of a crisis
Live from home office: Conrad Electronic maintains a direct line to its customers even in the current Corona crisis, as CSO B2B Ralf Bühler (photo on the right side) reports. © Conrad Electronic
Hirschau, 22nd of April 2020. One month ago, the coronavirus made it necessary to close down businesses in Germany. Now, it is time for trading companies to draw a first preliminary conclusion: "The protection and health of our employees, customers and business partners have always been, and still are, the guiding principle of our actions", says Ralf Bühler, CSO B2B at Conrad Electronic. The internal Crisis Management Team, which is trained for various crisis and emergency scenarios, met already mid-February. As a result, Conrad had sufficient time to initiate preventive measures regarding the handling of COVID-19.
The preventive approach made it possible to make 99.5% of the employees at Conrad headquarters fit to work in their home office within three days. "As a technology pioneer, we initiated the digital transformation of our company very early. The current exceptional situation underlines the advantage of digital working methods to be able to act quickly at any time and from anywhere", says the Conrad CSO.
Despite the closure of Retail Stores and working in home office, the personal contact is not neglected at Conrad Electronic, as Ralf Bühler further explains: "We are convinced that a future-oriented platform economy consists of people as well as machines: Whether through the new Conrad Community Conrad@YourSide, Customer Care, Sales or Business Advisors - our customers can rely on personal contacts and experienced technical experts, who are still available at Conrad. We are proud that we are able to meet this wish of our customers even during a crisis".
The Corona crisis made clear once again: platforms are the future
In these challenging times, the omnichannel provider Conrad Electronic is keeping its online business on track: The online shop on conrad.de is running smoothly and is available 24/7 with more than five million products. Proactive and transparent actions with suppliers have also delivered high delivery capacity and a reliable supply chain, reports Ralf Bühler: "Our purchasing department already worked with our international network of suppliers at an early stage to ensure the availability of goods for our customers and increased inventories accordingly," says Ralf Bühler, describing the process.
The Conrad spirit: fair treatment of employees
"Smooth operations are ensured above all by the logistics staff, who currently have their hands full and are doing a great job," explains Ralf Bühler. At an early stage, the Conrad Logistic Center ensured the highest possible hygiene and safety standards. In addition, all employees working in logistics receive a bonus for the months of March and April in form of a supplement corresponding to their personal working days on site. This supplement will be paid out tax- and social security-free with the salary in the following month. The team spirit, which has distinguished the family-owned Conrad company for decades, can be noticed and continues to be visible: The trainees support their colleagues in logistics, who in turn are prepared to work on Saturdays to ensure that customers are supplied quickly and on time even in these challenging times.
Conrad Electronic was also looking for solutions and supporting measures for the store employees: "For some colleagues who work in the Wernberg, Nuremberg or Regensburg stores, we were able to find a short-term solution by shifting their work to the nearby logistics center. However, we had to put the majority of the store employees - with the exception of a core team and the business customer advisors - on short-time work," says Ralf Bühler. In order to actively support the employees working in Retail Stores, Conrad's Management Team and the Works Council agreed to increase the short-time working allowance to 80%. In addition, an emergency relief fund has been set up for employees for whom short-time work leads to excessive hardship.
Solidarity and fairness with business partners
"A fair and trusting relationship with our partners is part of Conrad’s DNA as a traditional family owned business - and this particularly persists in difficult times," says Ralf Bühler, underlining Conrad's position. Accordingly, the Conrad Management did not consider cutting rents for the store locations without prior agreement at any time. "Even in the crisis, our corporate behaviour consists of fair and transparent discussions with our business partners in order to find common ways of how to handle the situation in a way that works for both sides," Ralf Bühler continues. The same applies to manufacturers and suppliers: "Right from the beginning, we have maintained all orders, cancelled nothing, accepted goods as agreed and paid for them in accordance with the agreed arrangements. In times when stationary trade is almost completely disappearing, Conrad ensures good sales opportunities for suppliers through its attractive online channels.
In addition, the Conrad B2B Marketplace with its simple and fast onboarding process enables other retailers and manufacturers to reach new customer target groups. Therefore, Conrad's eCommerce offering supports its partners in advancing and expanding their business even in times of Corona. Especially in times like these, it is important to stick together and remain strong together. This is how you identify fair partners and that’s exactly what is needed right now.