We spoke to Simona Jadronova about the changing nature of supply chains in India. She is Vice Director of INTORQ India Pvt. Ltd., a company that provides reliable brake and clutch solutions globally.
The Covid 19 pandemic has shown that all of us - regardless of industry and service - can suddenly be exposed to risks and crises. Were you prepared for this?
Simona Jadronova: Of course not, no one could have even guessed that something like this would happen. We were not prepared for the home office changeover. Not all our employees were equipped with laptops etc. It was a sudden and shocking news/change for all of us. But we managed and learned to adapt and respond to risks and crises. It takes the whole team to make something work, every individual counts. And we have tried to combine all our efforts and respond promptly to any possible and potential change that could drastically affect our business and growth. We managed not to lay off a single employee and pay everyone their salaries, even during the shutdown. And with each passing month, we were better prepared for new situations and similar happenings. Our way of working has adapted to stress and risk factors. I'm very proud of my team for all working so well together.
What consequences does your company draw from the crisis for the company itself, but also for the employees? Have you developed protective measures that will continue to apply?
Simona Jadronova: Well, we have developed some protective measures, such as: temperature control, wearing a mask all the time, face protection (in production), social distancing. The offices are disinfected and there is disinfectant everywhere. In addition, all our employees and their family members are now fully vaccinated. We as a company organized the vaccination campaign for them. Our employees had the opportunity to work from home, which was a completely new experience for some of them. And of course we have to be careful that this is not abused. Now we know that we can also work from home (office workers), but of course production can only take place in the factory. But we have also learned that we are more productive when we work on site in the factory, because we can see the whole process and also the other colleagues.
Were you able to avoid negative consequences of the crisis?
Simona Jadronova: Yes, we managed to avoid negative consequences. We reacted quickly and adjusted everything before we had to go into the second lockdown. As a result, we actually only lost one month in which we were not operational during the entire pandemic.
In many industries, we see that crises also trigger and accelerate restructuring and change. What conclusions do you draw from the last few months?
Simona Jadronova: We as a production unit didn't really need a big restructuring. For us it was more of a mental change and understanding and accepting the new situations, challenges and ways of doing business. We had to get used to the fact that more was happening online and via Zoom. The one big change was that all customer visits were done via video calls. This was indeed a big change, but it also showed us that this can be more efficient and environmentally friendly, as less travel is involved.
Change has good and bad sides. It always depends on the perspective. I try to see every change as a positive way forward and adapt it in the best possible way.
Supply chains are changing, and not just since the Covid 19 pandemic. There has been a change for years - the supply chain is becoming more and more complex. What changes have you already had to make due to external influences? What changes are planned for the future?
It is true that it is becoming more and more complex. But for us, it's more or less the same. We haven't had to make any drastic changes at our end. No changes are planned so far.
Working with suppliers in India - a difficult issue?
Simona Jadronova: It's a very difficult issue. And I think it's hard for any foreign company to understand that such problems occur at all. In Germany, for example, you don't really need an extra position for follow-ups. It is self-evident that you receive an order confirmation. The material is delivered on time at the agreed date. In this country, even when you place an order and the supplier confirms it, you have to follow up every day and even then you can't
be sure that the material will be delivered on time. The same goes for quality, it is never constant. And I wonder why the general attitude is the same: it is understood and accepted that it is the way it is. Nothing has changed in the last few years either....
Corporate Social Responsibility - to what extent does this topic already play a role in your company?
Simona Jadronova: Yes, CSR is a big and important topic in our company. We explain to our team the need and importance for our future. As a company, we also hold events and activities that involve all employees. Among other things, we helped buy oxygen equipment for India when it was not available during the pandemic. We also recently planted new trees along our factory. Each employee chose a tree, planted it and must also take care of the tree throughout the year. It is associated with the need for a healthy environment and why trees are important. The action has proven to be a great team effort.
We also organise events and activities on the subject of rubbish and how important it is not to throw it away somewhere, but to dispose of it properly.
How do you assess the competitive situation? Do you think the law on CSR should be mandatory for all - even for smaller companies?
Simona Jadronova: The law should always be binding on all. Why should there be differences. Everyone should get and give the same. But this is India... it is never the same for everyone. There are always certain groups who have it easier one way or the other.
Thank you for the interview and the insight into your company!