The ‘new norm’ is going to be defined further as businesses come back to more consistent operations, according to Fujitsu General director of sales, marketing and product, Dave Smith.  

“We have remained effective throughout the pandemic. Our teams in Australia and New Zealand were asked to work from home for an extended period of time and they handled the transition very well, but everyone was glad to come back to the office in early June,” he told Appliance Retailer in an exclusive interview.

Fujitsu General formed a business continuity team largely made up of its executive team, including managing director, Philip Perham, deputy managing director, head of people and culture, general manager of customer experience, general manager of innovation, general manager of finance, as well as some New Zealand team members, to handle the company’s response to COVID-19.

“We meet daily to make sure we were up to date with the situation. The team is made up of a good cross-section of representation across the business and we have learnt a lot about resilience going through the pandemic and navigating the business through it,” Smith said.

“Our sales teams were also asked to work from home through that period. It was a big transition for them and for anyone in sales as they are used to doing customer visits, but they handled it very well. Sales activity did continue through Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and Teams, which remain effective and help maintain our market presence.

“We remain vigilant around COVID-19 and we are all back to work and in the office with the exception of Victoria, with social distancing and personal hygiene practices in place. All team members check in and out of the office and we conduct temperature checks, which is part of that ‘new norm’.”

Although the retail channel has been the most challenging for Fujitsu General, Smith said the company is satisfied with its performance throughout the pandemic.

“It was clear that we were all going into an uncertain situation, but we have managed to navigate quite well with good planning, strategies and tactics,” he said.

“We operate across a number of different channels. Retail is a big part of our business and an important channel for us and it has been the most challenged for growth largely due to the repositioning of consumer spend with products strongly aligned to working from home, such as computers, as well as small appliances, performing well.

“Given that we are a seasonal brand, particularly in retail, we haven’t enjoyed the strong growth that we have in other parts of our business but we have focused our efforts with our retail partners on educating them about office environments, temperature control, as well as cleaning and maintenance tips to remain as relevant as we can.”