#WayForward with Ronny Zingre, CEO MBV and Femron, Stäfa and Feuerthalen, Switzerland
In the #WayForward series, CEOs tell us what’s on their mind in coronavirus times. Read how Ronny Zingre, CEO of MBV and Femron, sees things.
We reacted fast and lost no revenue at all. As an international business with 60 employees in two companies, our first challenge was to secure the supply chain about a month before the Swiss lockdown. Later, for the safety of employees and business, part of us worked from home and we split the service and production team into two shifts.
Part of our business continuity program is that I invest 3 hours a month in solutions we might need in the future. Whenever this comes up, I have “more pressing things” to do – but I resist the temptation. One result is that we launched a new IT strategy 18 months ago based on the book “Digital Vortex” by Michael Wade. We decided to implement Microsoft Teams as a collaboration platform. At MBV, we went live last December. At Femron, we just made it – at the beginning of March. We did the right things and then got lucky too.
Today, we’re almost back to normal.
My most important tip for CEOs is to focus on what needs to be done now, but keep an eye on the future. There will be more challenges ahead.
Ronny on the team’s needs and leadership during the crisis: “Only 6 of our combined 60 staff report to me directly but, at the beginning of the lockdown, I was almost fully booked doing people management and communication. A personal problem here, something that didn’t work there. My motto is “Cool head, warm heart, working hands” and I needed a whole lot of all of this. Everything went smoothly in the beginning. But tiredness kicked in for many staff once it became clear that this was not a sprint, but a marathon. Our one-week company vacation in May came at the right time for most of us. The biggest challenge for the teams working in shifts was starting at around 6 am one week and at 2 pm the next. That was really hard for some of the team members.”
Ronny on what makes him proud about the crisis management of his two companies: “I can’t stress enough how crucial our continuity program has been for the way we handled this situation. We had made the right efforts to make the organization resilient. Based on that, we were able to use the right tools immediately when we needed to change the way we operate on a daily basis. We then reaped the benefits from day one: no tool problems, straight to what needed to get done. Results all the way.
Businesses who plan to move into a cloud-based IT solution need to understand that the biggest challenge is not technology but people having to change their habits. You don’t just do the same old things on a new platform. Instead, some activities must change entirely. Like working together on a document at the same time and not sending it back and forth via e-mail, for instance. On the other hand, your company can keep working out of organizational “silos”, as long as you let technology help you to work in cross-functional teams and let the information now flow to the right people.”
Ronny shared this post on his Linkedin profile and added even more insights. Here’s what he wrote:
“The Covid situation is a challenge for all of us. I had a super interesting conversation with Dave Hertig about what it takes and what a CEO needs to do. Read below and learn about my insights:
- Business Continuity Management and a resilient Supply Chain only are of value to you and your organisation if you do it before the crisis.
- Strategic frameworks like “Digital Orchestra” change your decisions and will create an environment for your employees to be successful in helping your clients – even in unstable situations.
- Communication in times of a crisis is important and demanding too.
- If you plan to move to the cloud with your IT infrastructure it is absolutely crucial to help your staff to adapt to this new environment. Do not take it for granted that people will change. Help them to discover new possibilities and create a win-win situation.
During this time I was thinking back to my time at IMD Business School. A big thank you to my professors Michael Wade, Misiek Piskorski, Ralf Seifert and Carlos Cordon – you all helped me with what I learned from you during my time with you.”
#WayForward Table Of Contents: Click here to get to the #WayForward series’ Table of Contents with all the posts we did with CEOs plus recordings of media events where the WayForward insights are discussed.
Ronny Zingre on the #BoomShow
Ronny will speak about business growth on our #BoomShow on July 8, 2020, at 1 pm CEST/Swiss Time. Find all the info on boom.ceo/boomshow. Join our live stream and learn how this Switzerland-based pearl of industrial manufacturing grew from 10 to 60 staff in the last nine years. We look forward to seeing you there and also answer your questions if you decide to actively participate.