Well there’s a phrase you wouldn’t expect to hear from clients. But this week I have had two separate conversations with manufacturers and suppliers who frankly are not looking forward to this next phase. 

In the same vein, factory bosses are having difficult conversations with some staff that have been furloughed who are enjoying their paid extended holidays. Finding that the appetite to return to work isn’t as positive as they would expect. This can also come from a concern over how their employers are creating a COVID Secure environment.  

Panic works both in a negative and positive way. 

Just before the COVID lockdown there was a huge surge of panic purchasing and bulk buying. For a considerable number of manufacturers and suppliers this was just before they had to close their facilities. This means there is a large hole in stock levels. As the restrictions as being lifted there are many challenges they need overcome before stock levels are back at a sustainable level. 

 1.Make sure the workplace is COVID Secure for employees 

2.Create a safe shift pattern in manufacturing that enables production to start. 

3.Getting stock levels back to a level where sales can start. 

 Does the end purchaser really care? 

 I think they do in some respects and don’t in others. I know personally that when you are used to your Amazon delivery arriving the next day even after ordering at 10pm the night before – it now takes 3 to 4 days. I’m slightly frustrated because for me that’s my normal expectation. 

What the end purchaser doesn’t think about is the amount of challenges manufacturing is facing right now to get back to a level of normality. 

This week a client who manufactures and sells products for the hobby market received an actual death threat from a frustrated customer, who said that if they don’t start selling soon ‘you will be signing your death warrant. This is an extreme, but if you manage your marketing messages and PR correctly this should minimise the amount of bad will. 

Clear messages are key, as the UK Government has found over the last few months. Everyone understood the ‘Stay Home – Protect the NHS – Save Lives’. But haven’t warmed to the change ‘Stay Alert’. 

If you inform your customer base in good time and with a clear message, they will forgive you more for not getting what they want right now. Knowing that there is a clear roadmap set out by you. 

I refer back to my earlier comment – panic works both in a negative and positive way. 

In many ways people will panic and bulk buy again once the restrictions are lifted on products they haven’t been able to purchase during lock down. If you manage this situation well through a clear roadmap of procedure and marketing messages. In a few months you will find that the reopening wasn’t as bad as you thought.