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The Value of Trust Capital in the Lockdown Era

In this special guest article, Managing Director of NorDan UK, Alex Brown, discusses the current state of the company during the COVID-19 pandemic and how more businesses should be looking to support each other and their customers to ensure continuity.

In the current climate, there is nothing more disheartening than seeing a business drop off the radar.

For many of course, the choice will be outwith their control, forced to close their doors due to the nationwide lockdowns imposed during the Coronavirus pandemic. However, this isn’t the case for every business. Even with staff working from home or limited operation, many companies can still be evolving in order to continue through this challenging new era.

I acknowledge that NorDan as an organisation is in a very fortunate position at the moment, with both the capabilities and resources to have adapted the best we can during the pandemic. Many other businesses are not able be in this position and my sympathies first and foremost go out to everyone who has had their personal and working lives affected by the virus.

I suppose the main message that I’m looking to get across is that those businesses still capable of operating under the shadow of COVID-19 should be doing so, if not to support themselves in the short term then to seed the continuity and long-term success of their companies and their markets. It has been and will be difficult, but is entirely possible if you can adapt your business strategy (or even business model) effectively.

Too frequently over the past month, I have seen companies make rash decisions like severing supply links, closing their doors prematurely and failing to communicate with their stakeholders, customers and community. While this may preserve profits or minimise losses in the short term, it also risks burning bridges and crippling future continuity of a business. After the pandemic, or at least the national lockdowns are over, people will remember the companies that stuck around, supported other businesses or, at the very least, maintained transparency about their decisions.

These kinds of actions lead to something that has become especially prominent during lockdown: Trust Capital.

This is a phrase that I’ve been hearing a lot recently when referring to how companies are marketing themselves during the pandemic. Simply put, it is the trust resulting from a business’ actions and relationships. Before Coronavirus, businesses could rely on their brand and products to sell themselves, but now pure sales should not, and in some ways cannot, be the only goal.

Trust Capital is earned through the people, actions, values and approach taken by a company. This is a keystone that can help to support businesses during this time, as it’s inherently built from collaboration and supporting other businesses. For NorDan, this has meant the maintenance of our supply chain and continued focus on providing quality service as part of the supply chain of others. To this day, NorDan is still 100% operational and working at full capacity across manufacturing and delivery. Our facilities operate under correct governmental shift patterns and health and safety procedures, with all non-essential staff working from home.

I mentioned at the beginning how NorDan has been coping well so far with the nationwide lockdowns – something affecting every one of our eleven factories and many offices across Europe. This has not been without foresight, planning and hard work in order to brace for the impact of the pandemic.

Despite its size, NorDan still operates with the speed and dynamism of a small family company – something that can be attributed to our owners and the approach they have instilled throughout every level of our organisation. In the earliest days of the pandemic, we were quick to take precautions and follow government guidance in each of our countries of operation.

As a company, NorDan has perhaps been more fortunate than most by having experience in dealing with disaster – in 2015, our headquarters in Norway was hit by severe flooding, which threatened to halt our manufacturing and delivery capabilities and could have spelled a major setback for the business. Acting quickly, the company was able to switch manufacturing to another factory to see short term orders fulfilled, while setting about the repair of the HQ facilities.

Our company is time-tested, resilient and adaptable, with strong values keeping us focused on our long-term goals and ready to adjust tactics when need be. Responding to challenges is something that can be achieved quickly with the structure of our organisation and a lot of responsibility is given to Managing Directors in each of NorDan’s subsidiaries, like myself at NorDan UK.

During the Coronavirus lockdown, NorDan’s long-term vision and strong values have helped ensure that suppliers, customers and staff have been supported in every way the company can provide. We understand the value of trust in this current climate and have not only evolved our approach to keep deliveries on schedule and meet customers’ needs, but will continue to do what we can to support our suppliers and partnered businesses. In the long run, NorDan as a company believes this will be vital in keeping the market alive.

I hope that other companies in suitable positions can appreciate the value of transparency, adaptability and supporting their supply chain during this time. The COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented, with no business unaffected. It’s because of this that businesses should stick together where they can, supporting and communicating with each other and their customer bases through the challenges that will be presented in the coming weeks.

I believe that once the world returns to normality, this will be what determines the viability, continuity and success of every business.

- Alex Brown, Managing Director, NorDan UK

Apr 09, 2020
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