Call for Leaders – 3Q is a new category where Business Review features our 3 questions with some of Romania’s top business professionals, bringing a positive, insightful, or otherwise constructive view of their markets in the context of the current crisis.
Current conversation: Mircea Gavrila, owner & CEO Depisto Star and Founder Depisto Business Solutions
What are the measures you took for your business during this period?
We analyzed our work procedures, projects status and cash-flow. We made efforts to maintain payments towards our suppliers, pushed for payments from our clients, kept our expenses at a minimum and worked tireless to find new projects and clients for the near future.
We implemented new safety measures for our people according to the guidelines published by the authorities. Some colleagues are working from home, some are working from our different offices, but most are working on construction sites. We are monitoring closely the changes required to continue our activity.
We had to make some difficult decisions for one of our division which is no longer active due to the pandemic restrictions. But the other two are continuing so far according to our initial calendar. Of course, everything takes longer, prices are going up and our suppliers’ deadlines and conditions are changing every day. But right now we’re all about moving forward, focusing mainly on maintaining jobs, health and company steadiness.
Cash-flow in our domain is always problematic because we finance every stage of the project before payment. In the current climate it’s even more difficult to keep this delicate balance. If our construction sites will remain open so that we can finalize our projects and get paid, we’re going to survive. But those are big Ifs. It all depends on how deep and how long the crisis will be.
My hope is that people will follow the rules, COVID-19 cases will decrease soon enough so that limitations can be gradualy lifted in the 2nd half of May. Otherwise companies will have much biggger problems in restarting their activity. We need to understand that we’re part of the same ecosystem. If someone doesn’t pay their invoices everyone will lose. Of course there are domains which have experience total shadow from the start of this crisis. But for all the rest, no matter our problems, we need to keep circling money into the economy even if it’s hard and there is a lot of economical fear going on, otherwise we’ll lose much more.
What’s your advice for business leaders regarding this crisis?
I would say to try their best and focus on the future, analyze their competences, try to adapt to the new conditions and reinvent themselves. To not be blocked in the question whether if or when we are going to get out of this, but how can we take steps today to a better place than yesterday. Things will never be the same, not even after the vaccines will be available for all. Let’s make sure that this different future will also be a better one – for everyone.
At the very beginning I made for myself three basic rules. First was – letting people go is my last option, only after I tried everything else, delaying as much as possible. The 2nd was to go after new projects based on our know-how, not our previous / existing clients / projects necessary. The 3rd was to adapt to new circumstances as fast as possible, focusing on what we can win, not what we already lost.
For example, right now, using our technical know-how and connections with suppliers from projects finalized in the medical field, we are consulting companies who need to adopt new technologies (like thermal body temperature cameras, disinfection robots etc.) to protect their employees and customers (manufacturers, retailers, transporters, etc.).
Also, we saw in the private sector a big need for safety equipment (face masks, protective glasses, face shields, disposable gowns, gloves, etc.). So we gathered a group of Romanian manufacturers in order to provide good quality products for companies looking to protect their employees (drug stores, retailers, transporters, banks, etc.). And the best thing is that, by doing this, we help Romanian workers to keep their jobs and take care of their families in such difficult times.
What’s the most positive business news you’ve read today and want to share?
Every article about Romanian manufacturers succeeding in switching their activity to those products that can solve our problems today – protective gear, hygienic substances, health hardware/software, medical innovation. Every article about Romanian producers (vegetables, legumes, fruits, dairy, meats, fish, sweets, etc.) adapting to new circumstances by going online, delivering to their new customers and expanding their ranges. Every article about Romanian people and NGOs succeeding to help our medical heroes to save as many lives as they can. There is a lot of good going on, we just need to pay attention and get involved.
There are many bad news, as-well, some are truly horrific, making us cringe at home and fear for our lives. I’m aware of those, too, just like everyone else. But I try to occupy my mental space with good examples to follow in moving forward.