Corona Interview Series #7: Benjamin Pfendt, Wibre

After 15 years as Head of Marketing at Wibre, Benjamin Pfendt could be described as something of a seasoned industry veteran. Nothing, however, could have prepared him and his team for the unprecedented upheaval they’ve experienced by the ongoing corona crisis. We hope you enjoy this insightful – and positive – interview with Benjamin as he details some of the measures taken to adapt to the crisis

Benjamin, how is Wibre dealing with the current difficult situation?

After an initially hesitant start, we put together a crisis team and were able to take measures and make decisions very quickly. We made a conscious decision to focus on the opportunities and see the possible positive effects which could come about through the crisis.

What effects do the restrictions have on production, delivery and sales?

In our opinion, the effects will probably hit us a little later. Although we’re still operating normally in terms of production capacity, like most companies, our day to day working habits have been significantly altered.

In sales, for example, we’ve noticed that many international sales partners and customers are currently operating with severe restrictions, and projects are delayed as a result. On the other hand, however, due to public closures, we’re seeing some increase in the demand for renovations to public swimming pools, and as a result we’ve been able to continue our operations in this field.

And what long term effects do you anticipate that the crisis will have on Wibre as a commercial enterprise?

I don’t think we can say or estimate that at this point. We hope that the pandemic will quickly decline and that the economic consequences for our partners, customers and ourselves will be limited. The crisis will clearly have an economic impact, but our family-run company is also solidly positioned. We therefore hope for the best and take advantage of our opportunities.

How long do you think the crisis will last?

We will likely be impacted for the rest of the year. But for me the question ‘how long’ is insignificant. If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we – as individuals and as a society – have to make the best of the current situation. For that reason, it’s important to absorb every little positive detail.

At Wibre, you’ve been taking advantage of working online for meetings and product previews. Do you think that will we experience a permanent change in our attitude to business travel?

That is quite possible, but only to a certain extent. It will also be essential to have direct and personal contact with customers in the future.

Networking cannot only be done digitally and not every product can be presented on the screen in a target group-oriented manner. Relationships with people and the product must be established.

How can the lighting industry contribute to a permanent reduction in emissions in the future?

Of course, but we manufacturers are already doing this intensively. In our industry, there is enormous potential, and I believe that we are collectively very much on the same page.

Do you have anything else to add?

Stay positive and focus on the important things in life. Hope to see you all soon!


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