With amusement supply firms across the world faced with an uncertain future, UDC managing director Mark Horwood spoke to Coinslot in an exclusive interview, sharing his experience of maintaining routine, and practical ways to keep business running during closure.
As the Coronavirus lockdown continues to affect amusement companies across the globe, many supply firms are increasingly facing challenges in maintaining delivery chain networks and managing business remotely. With a return to “normal” still likely to be a long way off, Coinslot spoke to Mark Horwood, managing director of UDC, about how business can be kept moving despite its closure, and what both the supplier and the industry are doing in response to the crisis.
“I’ve been in regular contact with customers and suppliers during lockdown,” said Horwood. “Other countries have been progressing along their own timelines dealing with the pandemic.”
“We’ve been approached by businesses looking for new equipment as well as those offering support and help sending supplies to reduce the transmission of Covid-19.”
With the worldwide lockdown throwing all best laid plans on their head, and turning daily routine for many into an idea from the distant past, Horwood is also ensuring that – as far as possible – UDC maintains business as usual.
“As for lockdown-lifestyle we’re trying to keep to as normal a schedule as possible. I now spend a good portion of the day wearing a Bluetooth headset whilst near a computer or smart device.”
“My day to day routine involves keeping in touch with customers and suppliers via email and Whatsapp. Video and audio conferencing using the Internet has also been very useful. We’re doing our best to keep abreast of government schemes and advice, and Bacta has helped share information and coordinate industry wide efforts.”
“I’ve also been remotely checking in with family and our team at home to ensure that everyone is doing well. A little outside contact is useful to help keep everyone sane and less anxious when isolating alone or with family, knowing that we’re all pulling through together.”
Horwood is also conscious that, though very few industries are well placed to endure the Coronavirus protection measures, the recent boom in technology has allowed for both businesses and individuals to weather the storm in a more proactive manner than ever before.
“The Internet has proven to be an indispensable utility during these times.”
“It’s eye opening to think that if the current situation had occurred twenty years ago we’d be struggling so much more without online shopping, instant messaging, video conferencing and an online supply chain to provide essentials. It’s a pity you can’t get a haircut online.”
Though personal grooming may be out of the question, Horwood is making sure he and his family contribute to helping NHS frontline staff, bringing his production expertise from the workplace into the home.
“My family and I have been kept busy making protective face masks for the NHS using instructions and kits obtained online,” said Horwood. “We have a little production line setup.”
“My wife, Lisa, has taken charge of this operation and is assisted by our children Aimee and Adam who are isolating with us.”
Though this production line may be one of the few in the country currently running at full capacity, Horwood noted the importance of the ongoing restrictions, hailing Bacta’s advice and updates as “invaluable,” and acknowledging the industry’s support for ensuring the country comes through the crisis as safely as possible.
“Everyone in the industry has been 100 percent behind the government efforts to protect people and reduce the spread of Covid-19 by closing and hunkering down until we can reopen when it is safe.”
“I’ve had lots of time to think of the future, but right now our focus is on returning back to work as soon as we’re able.”