Impact of Covid-19 on Maerz Ofenbau AG
Although the situation in Switzerland is not as severe as in neighbouring Italy, the Swiss government put several precautionary measures in place until 19 April, aimed at restricting the rate of infection of the population with the coronavirus.
Prior to this action, Maerz Ofenbau AG decided to relocate as many of its employees as possible to home offices, where they can continue to focus on their work without the fear of becoming infected with the coronavirus on their way to or at work.
We were surprised at how smoothly the transition went considering, for example, that equipment such as CAD workstations and the like had to be moved from the office to our engineers’ homes.
Thanks to the excellent internet infrastructure in Switzerland, communication with our servers is fast and reliable. We are therefore in the fortunate position of being able to continue our engineering work practically as efficiently from home as was the case from our offices.
The greatest challenge confronting us as an international business is our inability to travel. As long as travel restrictions are imposed, we cannot visit our customers in their home countries for commercial and technical discussions, local support or field services. Personal contact has had to make way for video and phone conferences. Other tasks, such as the commissioning of our plants, unfortunately have to be postponed for some weeks.
We are grateful for the strong support we receive from our customers during these difficult times: they fully understand our sometimes rather limited ability to meet our obligations and appreciate the extra mile we go to mitigate the impact of the current crisis on their projects. A big thank you for your support and understanding!
Despite the challenging times we are currently exposed to in Europe we do see signs of recovery in other areas of the world. Last week I had a phone conversation with partners in China, where work and life is slowly beginning to recover. Construction sites have reopened and the virtual standstill of many projects seems to be over.
This gives me hope that in a couple of weeks we will also see a recovery in the heavily affected European countries and – with some delay - in the Americas. There will no doubt, be an economic impact on all of our businesses. On the other hand, I am convinced that this crisis has taught us new ways of doing business and communicating with each other for the future.
Until a few weeks ago, no one in Europe could have imagined the strong impact this pandemic would have on everyone’s life and the tragic consequences faced by so many.
Let me appeal to all of you living in countries where the infection rate is not as severe yet: please take this situation seriously, take care of yourselves and your families, keep your distance, wash your hands and stay healthy!
Stephan Lechner, Managing Director