In our Coping with COVID-19 series, AVNetwork is interviewing manufacturers to discover how they’re handling the COVID-19 crisis and how the pandemic has impacted their businesses.
Bob Wudeck, senior director of business development at BenQ America discusses the company’s response to COVID-19.
AVN: Have you pivoted your business strategy in response to COVID-19? If so, how?
BOB WUDECK: We have transitioned to an entirely work-from-home model wherever possible. One of the biggest changes we made early on was ensuring that our customer service reps and trainers had the right equipment—high-quality audio, video backgrounds, and internet speeds—at their homes to deliver the same caliber of support that BenQ has always provided in the office. Using virtual and cloud-based tools, they’re able to conduct demos and webinars remotely for IT directors, AV staff, and technology managers as well as reseller trainings.
We’ve also enhanced our support and services with the flexibility customers need right now. We can meet with customers from their chosen UC platform or our own GoTo Meeting platform. By combining flexibility with high-quality voice, live video, and access to visual content, we’re continuing to stay ahead of customer needs.
AVN: How have your day-to-day operations changed during this time?
BW: Our day-to-day operations have changed very little. Despite being unable to have face-to-face meetings with decision makers or attend events and give live demos, we’ve had success transitioning to a virtual model and are able to carry on from home.
AVN: Has COVID-19 had an impact on your supply chain? If so, how are you handling any delays?
BW: COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated our supply chain within our monitor, e-reading lamp, and home theater product lines. April was a record month for us due to the strong demand in those markets.
While education tenders or access to buildings are delayed, the impact has been relatively minimal. In fact, we’re seeing a leap in interest and conversations around our interactive flat panels (IFPs), which are the only IFPs on the market with a germ-resistant, antimicrobial coating designed to prevent the spread of germs while working at a touch screen. As people consider the health impact of interactivity, a germ-resistant screen is no longer interesting—it’s essential.
AVN: Have you implemented any virtual training/education resources for integrators?
BW: We've been virtually training integrators nonstop since the beginning of the crisis. We've also done many reseller trainings to brief them on new products as well as update them on the current status.
AVN: What has been your largest leadership success during this time?
BW: The biggest leadership success for us has been flawlessly transitioning to an entirely work-from-home model without any real impact to our overall revenue or operations. Our warehouse operation teams have also kept health and safety at the forefront while managing to prevent any slowdown in operations.
AVN: How do you think business will change post-COVID-19?
BW: I think the biggest impact will be how people gather together going forward. For example, in the past, people shared an HDMI cable to present in a group meeting, but now they have to think about the limited reach of that cable and how close in approximation it requires people to work.
Now, we’ll see businesses consider a wireless presentation system such as InstaShow not only as an affordable, easy-to-use alternative, but one that enables people to work separately, yet still share the screen. COVID-19 will also change how small- and medium-sized businesses allocate their technology budgets. They will be more cost-conscious and look at how to attain more functionally practical and affordable solutions for meeting rooms rather than spend on an expensive system that doesn’t offer any flexibility.
In addition, I think we’ll see end-users consider more feature-rich solutions, such as a higher resolution and color-accurate display and monitor models, in the event that should they need to work from home, they can do so without any delay or frustration.
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