In March the wave came with drastic measures. Nobody knew what would happen next. After a few months in crisis mode, we know more, but are we smarter? Suddenly it was very quiet. Hardly any noise from production, no happy conversations in the common room, no visits to customers. Half of the employees had moved to their home workplaces from now on.
In addition to the health of our team, the economic situation was also the focus of our new daily routine. As a supplier, we produce a large part for products that are exported. However, exports have collapsed very early on for the mechanical engineering industry, which is why we have been struggling with a decline in sales of between 40% and 50% to date.
Fewer orders mean less turnover but not necessarily less effort. This was made clear to us once again with the changeover of the value-added tax on July 1. The accounting changeover took several days and caused additional costs due to our IT service providers. As a B2B company, however, the reduction in VAT has no effect on the willingness of our customers to buy, so there is no direct additional turnover for us.
We hope that we can continue to maintain our team of employees and overcome the crisis together. We are particularly pleased about the cooperation with the German Federal Employment Agency, which regulates short-time work quickly and flexibly together with our payroll department. This enables us to accept short-term orders and react flexibly despite short-time work.
The paradox is: On the one hand, we keep the number of staff as low as possible. This also means that we will not be able to train this year, which we regret very much. On the other hand, we are now being hit by the shortage of skilled workers, which has been frequently quoted from good economic times. So please read carefully who has these qualifications: We are urgently looking for a machine operator for sheet metal working machines with laser experience. For our sales and administrative colleagues, the last few months have included reduced personal contact and digital meetings, including with customers. Our hygiene concept has proven itself in the past and is constantly being reviewed by us. For example, we have set up a separate sanitary area for suppliers. Our offices have been adapted so that the required minimum distance can be maintained.
Now, in the summer, we are looking forward to regain some of our freedom with the relaxation. Right at the front: The reopening of our common room. There we enjoy fresh coffee and tea again at a distance and with a limited number of people.
Even more important is the early resumption of our training programs. Polish colleagues are eagerly waiting to continue improving their German language skills. A factor of uncertainty is and remains the economic situation due to international factors.
Even after almost half a year of changes, we still do not have a master plan for new sustainable success. Ultimately, however, the crisis confirms that, regardless of external factors, our virtues such as team spirit, optimism and trust make long-term success and the mastering of setbacks very likely. We will continue to rely on this in the future.