In the third instalment of our Corona Interview Series; Antonija Fonovic, Regional Manager Americas at FILIX Lighting, discusses some of the short to medium term consequences of Corona for FILIX Lighting and the industry at large
Antonija, can you explain to us a little about how FILIX has had to adapt in the face of the current pandemic?
We’ve taken the situation very seriously and are implementing all the necessary measures to fully protect the health of our employees, partners and clients. Aside from working remotely, we’ve also had to significantly reduce on-site activities.
I’m proud to say that we’ve been blessed with leaders that are hands on in finding new ways to operate and have a high level of awareness of their surroundings. This week, our CEO and COO have reorganised the processes in our manufacturing facilities which will secure a reasonably high level of operability.
We also started doing our bit to help flatten the curve by adapting our 3D printers – which normally produce prototypes – to working full time on producing components for sanitary equipment (see photos below).
How has the current crisis affected workload?
The COVID related restrictions have made us reschedule our work plans for the next couple of months. Projects are getting finalised and orders are still being placed and we see no decline at the moment.
The workload has remained the same, but we see a complete change in the way we carry out our activities now. Everything has shifted online and new and creative ways had to be found to engage our clients and partners.
The pandemic has encouraged our team to start thinking ‘outside the box’, it has made us go on a quest to find the proper way to continue providing support to the Lighting Community and promoting our solutions.
We would like our clients to know that they can contact us at any time if they have any question, our Market Managers are available now more than ever. We have set up a studio from where we started live demos of our products and technical support. Our new website is being finished and will be launched in the coming weeks.
Are you able to take advantage of any governmental aid?
Croatia is a beautiful country with amazing historical background and countless natural resources. Hence many people live off and depend on tourism. They will be the ones needing the governmental aid the most to boost the economy once we are out of this crisis.
So far we have not requested any governmental aid since we are still managing to operate and deliver our solutions. I sincerely hope we will not need to reach out for any aid.
How long do you expect the crisis to last?
I think that it will take a couple of months until it settles down. Hopefully by July/August we will be able to start packing for Light + Building. I’m looking forward to meeting all the amazing people from the Lighting Industry at our booth.
Do you think we will see a permanent shift in our attitude towards business travel?
I hope not! Of course, I believe that many meetings can be done online in the future. This would save a lot of time, resources and have a positive impact on the carbon footprint. Having said that, I think that product presentations are not the same. Feeling the weight of the instrument, seeing the details, aiming it towards a surface to see what effect can be achieved with it. Lighting design is not an exact science, it’s about feelings. What better way to decide on which lighting solution to implement within a project than to take the fixture in your hands and to feel it.
Speaking of product presentations, do you think there will still be a place for trade shows in the post–corona future?
It’s possible that the volume of trade shows will go down. But the ‘big’ relevant ones will continue being an important meeting place for the members of the Lighting Community. It’s not only about seeing new products and meeting new people, but also about learning and – let’s not forget – having a good time!
We’ve seen a decrease in emissions by as much as 25% in some areas in the last few weeks – a positive side effect of the crisis. How can the lighting industry contribute to a permanent reduction in emissions in the future?
A big role in this will be played by the newly found opportunities in online support, learning and networking which will reduce work related travel. From a manufacturing point of view, the new optimisation of the processes and logistics will contribute to the emission reduction. A well thought out and strategy to reduce waste and maximise resource efficiency will certainly be a priority for many.
Antonija and theteam at FILIX Lighting, we appreciate you taking the time to discuss your situation with us and wish you the best of health during this period!
If you’re working in the lighting industry and would like to take part in our Corona Interview Series, please follow the link here