Crisis as a driver of innovation
Corona everywhere. Naturally, we too have questions related to this topic for Roland Baumann, COO at Wolf Plastics Austria.
Mr Baumann, what is the order situation at the moment?
Good and above all stable. I’m happy to say that we have produced consistently well during the crisis. Although it needs to be said that the blow extrusion sector, i.e. canisters, bottles and tins, is in greater demand at the moment, definitely at a higher level than before Corona.
Which products are in greater demand?
Canisters and bottles are in particularly high demand. The topic of disinfectants in particular is having a major impact, as our containers are increasingly used for the substance. But the food sector was and remains also very strong.
Do previous non-customers approach WOLF PLASTICS with inquiries? If so, with which ones?
Yes, especially in the product areas of canisters and bottles. WOLF PLASTICS makes a significant contribution to the distribution of hygiene products and food.
Is WOLF PLASTICS also considering manufacturing protective covers from plastic or similar materials?
Of course, we are constantly looking for new product developments, at the moment of course with a nod to protection from Corona. There are various approaches, from masks to the topic of contact protection for shopping trolleys.
How do you see the time in the aftermath of Corona?
It will probably still take some time until “normality” as we know it has returned. Some topics will certainly resonate, for example the topic of “disinfectants”. But from WOLF PLASTICS’ point of view, I am looking forward to that time, and I think that together with our customers we will also get through that time rather well.
What was and is WOLF PLASTICS’ recipe for success during the crisis?
At first it was: Keep calm! A structured approach was required. So the management team first discussed and debated what the approach should be. Once this was determined, the measures were implemented in the departments. Above all, it was important to inform the employees in detail. Right on time at the beginning of the lockdown, we were prepared for all eventualities. Since we already had very strict hygiene standards due to the production for the food sector, we only had to retrofit a little and pay attention to the distance rules.
We received very good feedback from our customers regarding the handling of the Corona crisis. We were able to satisfactorily manage the supply chain from the supplier to the customer and were able to continue to deliver throughout. Despite the uncertainties at the borders.
In your opinion, what opportunities does this historically unique situation present for the plastic packaging industry?
I hope for a stronger differentiation in the plastics sector. We can see that plastic can be a very good solution as packaging, for example for disinfectants. However, we need to consider how we can move more strongly into a kind of material cycle, and we should also find ways to shift plastic as a packaging material into a better light.
In addition, I also believe that we have been able to show our established customers, but also some new ones, that we are there for them in every exceptional situation, however difficult, and that they can rely on us.
How are your employees doing in the crisis?
In the challenging last few months, the full motivation of our employees was noticeable; they stand united behind the company. I would like to thank all our employees for their loyalty and commitment, because as always they have done a great job. Together, we will emerge from the crisis stronger.