Tainui Press’s Dale Ertel talks about Covid-19 lockdown and the future
What have your main challenges been?
The biggest challenge is – the unknown! That’s despite intensive efforts to return to production with better marketing, market awareness of what we can do for our customers, to give them the edge with great graphic design and printed product, whether it be physical or electronic.
The lengthy lockdown provided time to work on the business, as opposed to in the business. I watched podcasts and webinars, I took part in many Zoom meetings covering a wide range of business topics, albeit all aimed at surviving the unique circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. The daily 1pm Government Covid-19 updates were compulsory viewing.
Workload is light and I worry this must have an effect on staff morale; I am staying positive and enthusiastic, and I’m very appreciative of the Government wage subsidy.
With a real determination to exceed client expectations, it has been a challenge to get raw materials delivered to us during Level 3 and Level 2. Pre-Covid-19, usual stock delivery expectation would be within 24 hours; however anything from three days to seven days has caught us out and in some instances we have not been able to meet original client’s delivery promises. However, our clients have been very understanding.
What have your successes been?
Working on the business, negotiating lease relief with both machinery and premise.
We were buoyed by news during the lockdown of staff member Vanessa Hooton’s being named as the 2019 Digital Print Apprentice of the year, which then made her a finalist of the Overall PrintNZ Apprentice of the Year and our company announced as a finalist of the Apprentice Training Company of the Year. Both these finals would have been decided and announced at the PrintNZ Pride in Print Awards that would have been held in May, but are postponed indefinitely.
What difference has moving to Level 2 made for you?
We were able to fully function under Level 3, so moving to level 2 simply added more access to us in person.
What long-term changes do you see yourself making to the way your business operates?
Better system and processes, and more accurate costing and quoting functions. A greater importance given to marketing.
We had a number of staff meetings during the lockdown using Zoom video and I have been overwhelmed by the support and loyalty shown by staff during those meetings and since. There’s a real determination to not only survive this epidemic, but grow stronger from it.