Business as Usual – Virtually!
If you grew up watching futuristic films such as Back to the Future, The Matrix or even Wall-E, you would have thought that by 2020 all companies would already be working virtually from home. With technology allowing for video conference meetings, interaction via social media, emails, scanning, apps for everything and even programs that allow for digital micro-managing, the world has been primed to go completely remote. So why did it take a global pandemic to inspire companies to finally start utilizing all these tools? It’s simple – there was no other option.
Since early March, companies were forced to scramble into ‘disaster mode’, finding alternative means of operation for all streams of their business. The world entered quarantine with their laptops, iPads and cell phones in hand, bracing themselves for what could end up being months of isolation. Essential industries such as food service companies began strictly offering takeout, delivery and curbside pick-up, whereas companies deemed non-essential, such as retail clothing stores, were forced to cease all in-store operation. The rise of technology reached an all-time high this year when companies realized if they were going to keep business thriving, they needed to fully utilize all ways to connect with their employees and their customers daily.
Penn Emblem has been growing its social media and digital platforms steadily over the past few years. As an emblem and identification company, social media provides an incredible location to display product updates and samples. Email is consistently used for promotions and seasonal or holiday highlights and a website is the staple digital hub for any company to capitalize on leads and new business. While these forms of communication were prevalent pre-coronavirus, they became prominent during it and are sure to grow even larger after. “People and businesses must be able to pivot and change on a dime if you want to be around for another generation,” says President, Randi Blumenthal, “technology and social media had to be taken full of advantage of during this time if we wanted to keep moving and providing for our end consumers.”
Penn Emblem was named an essential business during the coronavirus due to its involvement with major industrial laundry companies who were still in operation for industries such as healthcare and food service. A limited number of Penn staff were authorized in the corporate building at once, just enough to allow shipping to be taken care of and orders to be delivered. The manufacturing plants are in full operation with added precautionary adjustments to day to day routines. Management rotated in the office to keep things moving. Daily conference room meetings became video conference calls, where employees could still connect and communicate about important topics from the safety of their own homes. The customer service call center migrated from cubicles to bedrooms. The sales team parked their cars and cancelled their flights to instead “bang the phones” and virtually meet with their clients. Marketing gained some creative real estate by converting their homes and bedrooms into private studios. Some areas of revenue have slowed down due to other companies halting their own business, but Penn Emblem has still been working tirelessly to provide the necessary identification products for essential companies. Business continued as usual, just virtually.
Technology has played a major role in Penn Emblem business these past few months. However, not only has it helped to keep business thriving, it has also been a platform for gratitude and care. Zoom and other video conference tools allow for co-worker check ins to make sure everyone and their families are doing well. Social media has been used for taking as many opportunities as possible to thank essential workers in healthcare, food service, grocery stores, law enforcement, mechanic shops, factories, transportation and more. On a day-to-day basis, it is easy to get caught up in business and transactions and to be focused on the sale. One thing Penn Emblem is taking away from the coronavirus of 2020 is a new level of gratitude and appreciation for the people they do business for and with every day, their customers and employees.
While Penn Emblem is looking forward to things getting back to normal, they are appreciative of the lessons they have learned and what they will take with them into the coming months. They have a brand-new website launching when quarantine fully subsides, new technology being implemented into their offices and plants, new product ideas they are eager to work on and new policies to instill that benefit the company and the employees. The coronavirus may have forced companies into a ‘disaster mode’, but one thing is for certain, the strongest of companies embraced it and came out on top. “Major growth is often disguised as a minor setback”. If there is ever another need for similar action, Penn Emblem will be ready, virtually.