Martin Strehl, CEO of the Eversys Group, on how the manufacturing industry is recovering post-pandemic and why communication and relationships have become more important than ever.
The past two years were met with uncertainty as the world battled a global pandemic, but as it turns out, our recovery is headed down the same path, proving to be a challenge of another kind.
While it’s fantastic to see coffee shops and restaurants thriving again, our hospitality sector has forever changed. Many businesses used country lockdowns to think deeply about the hospitality landscape, the role of coffee machines within it, and how they could not only survive, but also thrive. Then, as the world re-emerged from the darkness and into the light, came the parts no-one really saw coming – broken global supply chains, rising inflation or staff shortages.
As businesses fight to keep up with growing customer demand, to make up for lost revenue, they are also fighting to resource their shops with capable baristas. The solution, as many clearly now realise, is the use of automation to relieve the pressures of reduced labour while maintaining the quality and consistency customers have come to expect. It is for this reason we’re seeing such strong demand for the Eversys range of machines, and in particular, the Enigma (former E-line), which can handle large volumes and be used by the most and least experienced staff members.
At Eversys, the Swiss manufacturer of coffee systems, we had anticipated a 35 per cent growth for 2022, which seemed already an ambitious target. But in light of our present reality, we could have doubled that growth easily. We had expected increased product demand to a certain degree, but not at the rapid rate we’re experiencing today. Though, this positive development, combined with the negative side-effects following the pandemic period confronts us with a set of new challenges.
Not limited to the coffee market alone, but in almost every industry around the world, supply chain challenges are an emerging phenomenon. I took my car to the mechanics a few weeks ago and spoke to the dealer about a spare part I was waiting for. They couldn’t give me a time indication of when it would arrive. Other industries are suffering from staff shortages, not only our already mentioned HoReCa sector but also, as we are currently experiencing, the airline industry. And I’m sure there are and will be other problems which we could not have imagined a while ago.
The bottleneck at Eversys is not the people or the capacity of our company to grow. During the pandemic, we never reduced our capacities. Rather, we increased our staff by 20 per cent to help strengthen the company earlier this year and we keep on hiring and strengthening our team. What really is holding us back, is the limited availability of raw materials and the supply limitations on electronic components. That’s where the bottleneck lies. In some cases, we are having to fight even for materials that were previously ordered – whereas there is no hesitation from suppliers to doubling or trebling their price, even if it was pre-agreed by contract. As much as we dislike it, this leaves us no other choice than to adjust our pricing in line with the cost and exchange rate fluctuations as well, as most industries are forced to do these days.
While simply sourcing pre-ordered components on time and according to plan has become a struggle, the flexibility to increasing order volumes short-term is nowadays a mission hardly possible.
Obviously, this frustrating side of the post-covid era was not what we were hoping for. It costs our team members a tremendous amount of time and extra effort to mitigate these challenges. Alas, extended lead times – which have become a matter of months, not weeks as it was previously – seem hard to avoid in the short-term.
Professional coffee equipment represents a significant long-term investment and the decision to choose the right product should be well considered by weighing up the key criteria. This has not changed and should not be questioned by short-term impacts of the post-pandemic phase.
Our primary objective is and always has been to satisfy our customers’ expectations and to be a trusted partner for the long run.
We are dealing with this situation with absolute integrity, providing our clients with frequent, precise, and transparent communication. Which is why we have made the decision to share our current plight with Global Coffee Report’s readership, providing the audience with an honest insight into the challenges facing manufacturers the world over.
At Eversys, demand for our products continues to be strong and we are implementing a detailed plan on how to further manage and develop our capacities. We are pursuing our recruitment drive and have submitted plans to treble the size of our production facility – a factory that was purpose built a mere two years ago.
Most of all, however, we are working to increasing our resilience in a world with increasingly unpredictable supply chains. Concretely, we are investing into higher component stock levels, analysing and monitoring our sourcing channels with increasing detail to spot and mitigate potential risks, and working on alternative component designs, allowing for greater flexibility in case of supply chain shocks.
This should send a clear statement to the market that we are taking all the necessary steps to not only cope with the current challenges, but also anticipate and prepare for the coming years with sound optimism.
Our late founder Jean- Paul In-Albon once said, ‘The coffee world does not care so much about the economy; people will always be buying coffee, cigarettes and alcohol.’ Especially for the coffee part, we, at Eversys, agree with that statement. Regardless of COVID-19, post-COVID, and recession fears, we anticipate further solid growth of the Super Traditional coffee equipment segment. We are gearing up to overcome these current challenges and make sure that we can continue satisfying the growing demand for our equipment in the markets. GCR
For more information, visit www.eversys.com/en/
This article was first published in the July/August 2022 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.