Uster Technologies, one of the leading manufacturers in the world with its solutions for quality testing, monitoring and managing, adds value to the industry with its “Think Quality” principle. In the Covid-19 pandemic which affected all global markets from the first half of 2020, the company took a solid stance with the power of 70 years of experience. We had an interview with Sivakumar Narayanan, Uster Technologies Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, about the measures taken and the work carried out by Uster.
Disclosing that they started to experience the impact of the pandemic in January with their colleagues from China, Sivakumar Narayanan said that they took early measures thanks to the alerts of their colleagues. Stating that they have implemented security measures such as working from home as of February, Narayanan said; “We enforced strict measures to keep our employees safe therefore we could continue with our order fulfilment activities all this time. Overall, all operations were enabled and continued”.
Pointing out that the pandemic has disrupted the lives of not only companies and businesses, but also people, Narayanan; “We are proud that our organisation and our colleagues have managed to deal with the disruptions with flexibility and agility”.
Fiscal year 2020 contains challenges and unknowns
Sivakumar Narayanan said that while the last financial year had become a good year for Uster, the new financial year which has started on April 1st is a different challenge and quite unknown. Narayanan argued that it has been tough for the global economy and the textile industry as a whole. Narayanan said; “Since we do not know how long the crisis situation will last and impact our industry, we just need to adapt to changing conditions. Theoretically we were aware of it, but practically now we are exercising it – is to implement short-term planning”.
Noting that they used to run on a yearly plan with some milestones for calibrating, Narayanan said that now, they are running on a shorter-term planning. “We are also focussed on progressing with relevant innovations while being very mindful about costs;” said Narayanan and emphasized that they are focused more on helping customers, during this challenging time; rather than discussing about business and expansion.
Narayanan stated that online trainings for customers were another way to create value and also to stay in touch when visits weren’t possible. He continued his words saying; “In normal times, we are running behind the clock; but this crisis has provided us a unique opportunity to become a little bit more reflective, selective, and adaptive to our plans to bring real value to our customers. It is also a good time to test our values; which drive the organization, and to live them more vividly than before. So, it is a good opportunity to reflect, to distil and to become a little bit more human”.
It is more realistic to expect recovery in 2021
When we asked how the textile industry will come out of this crisis environment; Sivakumar Narayanan expressed that first of all we need a medical solution to support and sustain any recovery. He argued that we have to be realistic about what this recovery will look like; assuming that the situation won’t improve much before next year. Narayanan;
“We have had a break-down in consumer consumption and beside that a big economic damage causes in the whole world. There is no country which could compensate for the demand; and the markets booming as we had in 2008 and 2009. This damage is deeper and harder to get out. The recovery will be slow and take at least a couple of years. It’s also reasonable to assume that it’s not going back to 2018 level; or early 2019 level if you think that is a normal. We’ll have a different post-Corona normal; not at the same high level as existing before, at least in the initial period”.
Noting that the textile is a seasoned industry that has adapted over many such crises; Sivakumar Narayanan stated that the sector is driven by economic prosperity and technological progress. Narayanan completed his interview with Textilegence as follows; “The experience from the past and the needs for the future show that textiles will continue to adapt, evolve and grow. The industry is entering a phase where automation, sustainability themes, functional and technical applications will drive its future. In that sense I am quite optimistic about the long-term prospects of the industry. As Uster Technologies, we will continue to contribute to the development of the industry”.