VEGA ramps up support for Australian manufacturers amid coronavirus

Image: VEGA Australia

Manufacturers’ Monthly spoke with VEGA Australia managing director John Leadbetter about how the company is supporting Australian manufacturers and looking abroad for solutions.

Keeping the lines of communication open with customers is critical during challenging periods.

That is the view of VEGA Australia as the company continues to monitor their global network to seek solutions to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

VEGA Australia managing director John Leadbetter said the Australian arm of the company has adapted by using digital technology to connect with customers and continue providing service.

“No-one has faced this current situation before, so we’re all trying to forecast what may or may not happen,” he said.

“There are a number of people inside VEGA nationally and internationally that are working on finding solutions. As each one comes up, we’re finding a solution.”

VEGA Australia has employed strategies to stay connected with on-field clients through digital technologies. Image: VEGA Australia

The Australian factory is currently running at 100 per cent capacity, with two large shipments arriving twice a week from the company’s headquarters in Black Forest, Germany.

“We’re still here, we’re still in business, and we’re still here to support the clients in the field,” Leadbetter said.

“As far as the support side from the products, we’re doing everything humanly possible to make sure there’s no break in the producers there.

“With customer support, if allowed face-to-face, we’re still doing it as normal.”

VEGA Australia currently offers service by working remotely with customers using digital technology to look at programs, product installations, and then remotely helping on-field clients address concerns, faults or non-performance.

Leadbetter said the Australian business has sought answers by monitoring situations overseas in order to put safeguards in place to minimise disruptions and predict potential problems.

The company sees maximising options for their couriers to successfully deliver good into Australia as a priority, while looking at government responses to the coronavirus overseas.

“When we’re dealing with a worldwide network, different countries have different hurdles and challenges,” Leadbetter said.

“Fortunately, here (in Australia) at the moment, we don’t have as many as the northern hemisphere.

“What we’re learning from the northern hemisphere is helping us put procedures as safeguards in place.”

Monitoring government policy changes overseas in response to coronavirus has helped VEGA Australia navigate challenges in the domestic market. Image: VEGA Australia

VEGA Australia is preparing for a worst-case scenario to make sure Australian operations continue to increase stock and keep supply chains alive.

“Let’s take India for instance – it is in 100 per cent lockdown,” he said.

“There’s no transport in and out of the country, but then at the moment, the majority of their workforce is actually at home.

“Industry, apart from critical infrastructure is basically shutdown.”

Although he does not believe Australia will reach a similar degree, Leadbetter said VEGA is prepared to move forward with awareness of the “massive impact” on support systems and the industry more broadly.

“Looking at their situation, that’s why we’re monitoring our international transport to make sure that our couriers that we use have alternative methods of transport,” he said.

“Should the airline system shut down completely with freight, what are their options in regard to getting goods into the country.

“If the transport system was to decrease, it would affect the efficiency here and we’ve got products here in the country to support the Australian customers.”

Leadbetter said even though domestic delivery has not been affected by government policy, the biggest challenge that remains is international freight.

He said that VEGA is always adapting to the changing scenario of the ongoing crisis and are constantly steps ahead to find the best outcome for their customers.

“At the moment, we still have international freight auctions coming into Australia,” he said.

“If that was to change or lessen, then that would be a strain on the system and in finding a solution, we’ll work with our international freight couriers to make sure that we’ve got safeguards in place.

“As much as possible, we’re doing everything that the system allows us to do.”