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.
Larry Italia, president of d&b audiotechnik, discusses the company’s response to COVID-19.
AVN: Have you pivoted your business strategy in response to COVID-19? If so, how?
LARRY ITALIA: Not in the sense of target markets, product plan, etc. We increased our strategic focus on systems integration significantly over the last couple of years so we’re seeing the benefits of that pivot because the installation market is where we are seeing the majority of our business in this COVID-19 environment.
Our production line is streamlined for hand-made wooden cabinets and electronics so, unfortunately, we can’t shift the manufacturing capacity to support the manufacturing of PPE as much as we would like to, we are not set up that way. We are, however, in total support of the sound crew donation sites that have been established for production crews that have been affected by the virus.
AVN: How have your day-to-day operations changed during this time?
LI: We introduced social distancing in our offices early on, and those who are able to work from home started doing so prior to any of the state orders. The employees who cannot perform their jobs remotely (logistics, warehouse, service) are protected with PPE along with proper social distancing measures, and the offices and warehouse areas are thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis.
In the U.S., we’re open for business: we continue to take new orders, fulfill existing orders, provide product service and repair, customer service, and technical support.
AVN: Has COVID-19 had an impact on your supply chain? If so, how are you handling any delays?
LI: Our factory in Germany has been running since the crisis began. We have materials and components from our suppliers, and—so far—we have been able to deliver all orders with no delays and we don’t foresee any at this time.
AVN: Have you implemented any virtual training/education resources for integrators?
LI: Yes, and the response has been tremendous. We're staying active online through daily webinars, weekly Instagram Lives, and posting even more educational content on our website and across our social platforms. Keeping in touch with the community is essential to us.
Our classes are filling up fast so interested parties should sign up by visiting: dbaudio.com/global/en/education/web-based-trainings/english-web-based-training
AVN: What has been your largest leadership success during this time?
LI: My largest leadership success during this time has been listening to and not just hearing our customers, my managers, and my staff—and acting on what they share with me. I was in this industry on 9/11 and the Lehman Brothers 2008 melt down. COVID-19 is different. I am understanding that and thinking different.
AVN: How do you think business will change post-COVID-19?
LI: Businesses will change significantly. More streaming of musical, theatrical performances, and liturgical services; reduced corporate events and trade shows; increased consolidations; more work from home, etc. are all things I think everyone expects.
Given the relative resilience of the install business, I expect mobile companies and manufacturers will be considering their future strategies for the integration markets deeply.
AVN: Anything else you'd like to add?
LI: Entertainment, faith, and sports are integral to the human experience. Social gathering is in our DNA and essential for our mental and physical health. I don’t care how nice your home theater is, it’s not the same as being there. This is a tough time but there have been tough times before so let’s stick together, stay healthy, and the shows will go on.
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