Challenges and lessons learned in the past months – interview with Helmut Fabian Kretschmer, CEO of Paul M. Müller
Hoarding and empty shelves on one side, lockdown and closed shops on the other. The recent events have put the economy to the test. We spoke with Helmut Fabian Kretschmer, CEO of Paul M. Müller, about challenges and lessons learned in the past months.
The mid-sized and independent company has been importing fruit, vegetable, fish and meat preserves from all over the world for more than 60 years. Customers include large and independent companies as well as trade partners in the food industry. The industry solution agilesTrade has supported Paul M. Müller in planning, quality management, certificate management or long-short analyses for a couple of years now.
Helmut Fabian Kretschmer,
CEO of Paul M. Müller
»The supply chains are robust«
We hope that you and your coworkers at Paul M. Müller are doing well.
We are all safe and sound, thank God, but Paul M. Müller is in the grip of the corona pandemic.
How did you experience these past couple of months?
We had a sharp drop in sales, and it will be a long time before we can go back to normal. Since we mainly work in the sector of communal catering, the hoarding has not really helped us. In addition, due to the pandemic and hygiene regulations, cafeterias and school cateres still don’t work – or only to a very limited extent.
Was your supply chain affected?
At the beginning, we were afraid that we would not get the documents necessary for overseas containers. However, it all worked out quite well. We realized that the supply chains have been and continue to be surprisingly robust.
Did you experience any restrictions on the free movement of goods within the EU given the introduction of new border controls?
No, we didn’t. However, the freight rates for long distance transport within the EU have been and are rising – but not because of border controls but because of disrupted round trips.
»We have established smart working«
Which immediate actions did your company take in response to the situation?
We have introduced short time working and reduced our business. That’s how we are coming through the crisis with a black eye.
How do your digital processes help you to master the new challenges? Do you use Microsoft Teams or other tools for communication and collaboration?
Especially Microsoft Teams has been and continues to be a helpful tool. I learn new things about Teams every day and I am thrilled. I think that Microsoft is on a very good way with its variety of apps and it’s just fun.
Do the experiences of the past months motivate you to further transform your processes in the future?
We have established smart working. However, we still have a long way to go with regard to digitalization. You never stop learning.
Thank you for the interview, Mr. Kretschmer. We wish you all the best for the future.
Bella Diekmann works for the editorial office of agiles. She studied Spanish and French and has a PhD in linguistics. Besides her passion for languages, she is very interested in current IT topics. Blogging for agiles allows her to combine her love of writing with her interest in computer science and informatics.