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.
Nick Belcore, executive vice president at Peerless-AV, discusses the company’s response to COVID-19.
AVN: Have you pivoted your business strategy in response to COVID-19? If so, how?
NICK BELCORE: We have not pivoted our business strategy; however, we have added additional dimensions. The primary value proposition for Peerless-AV remains largely unchanged and we are utilizing this time to invest deeply in product development to address the needs of our customers and channels as well as to address the evolving needs created by COVID-19.
AVN: How have your day-to-day operations changed during this time?
NB: Not substantially differently from everyone else who is doing business today. Employees that can work remotely are doing so and those that must be present at the facility are there with a litany of safeguards to protect them. Thermal scans and temperature check points along with masks, social distancing, and sanitizers will be the norm for the foreseeable future. We continue to monitor the guidance and we evolve our policies to ensure we are doing everything possible to protect our team.
AVN: Has COVID-19 had an impact on your supply chain? If so, how are you handling any delays?
NB: We are a hybrid manufacturer—however, none of our manufacturing operations are in mainland China. We have not only had no disruptions in our supply chain, but we have also been able to gain a significant new customer base because of our continuity of product.
AVN: Have you implemented any virtual training/education resources for integrators?
NB: The Peerless-AV training department, I would argue, is the best in the industry. We have been conducting weekly webinars, most for continuing education units, and they have been robustly attended. We will continue to do so until or unless interest begins to wane, but as of now, there are no signs of that happening.
AVN: What has been your largest leadership success during this time?
NB: Our executive leadership team has been in front of this since the very beginning of the emergence of the virus. Because we are a global company, we were dealing with the spread of the virus in Asia and Western Europe long before it was a substantial concern in the United States. As such, we stopped international travel of our employees’ weeks before it was recommended by any governing body and similarly we grounded our sales teams globally weeks before shelter in place recommendations began to appear.
We believe these measures kept our Peerless-AV family and, in turn, their families safe. Similarly, we sold through significant inventory positions for liquidity while ensuring sufficient resupply to meet the needs of our customer base. We have been more fluid and adaptive then at any other time in the company’s 78 year history.
AVN: How do you think business will change post-COVID-19?
NB: The immediate answer is evident. People will be afraid and it will be up to our industry to empower people with data. The medical community continues to do an amazing job of meeting this threat, and it will be incumbent on the digital signage portion of our industry to pull through the recommendations of the medical community.
Utilizing signage to broadcast entry criteria to a building will become standard. Thermal kiosks that dispense a variety of disease prevention products will proliferate and will assist us all in taking the steps that we must to keep us safer. Analytics and networking of devices to communicate information real time from location to location will help us to assess if there is increased risk in a specific geography, and will allow us to apply best practices to mitigate risk as much as possible.
AVN: Anything else you'd like to add?
NB: I am heartened by what I have seen of the human spirit during this catastrophe. I have seen more overtures of kindness directed at people who are putting themselves in harm’s way by going to work because they are deemed essential.
The medical first responders and well as public safety personnel are appropriately out front, however standing right beside them now are the people that make society run. Grocery store clerks, bus drivers, train conductors, those silent people that do their jobs because they must have allowed our infrastructure to remain in place so that we have any type of economy at all to return to, however battered.
It is my sincere hope that long after this virus is gone, the respect that we are displaying for one another will remain.
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