Defying the pandemic for business sustainability

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to cut back or lay off majority of their workforce in order to survive the global health and financial crisis. But three companies based in the Philippines went against the odds and remained proactive: they hired more people, extended operational hours and kept regular client visits to keep their businesses going.

According to Solane distributor Grace Bernal of Trianna Trading, she had to increase her personnel during the height of the pandemic to ensure that the Metro Manila-based company remains fully operational. “I hired more personnel so the company won’t be paralyzed. When one couldn’t report to work, there’s someone who can temporarily take over.”

Currently, she has a total of 70 office staff and 26 riders for all 13 Solane showrooms around NCR including Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Montalban, Novaliches, Quezon City, San Juan, and San Mateo. Increasing her staff means she also has to work extra hard to boost the company’s sales.  “We had to look beyond what’s happening now and think of what’s going to happen, what we need to do next. For me, that meant doing everything we can to penetrate the market — go back to distributing flyers, kung saan ang maraming tao, we will go there with our staff. There’s also the internet. Marami nang groups and marketplaces ngayon and we joined most of them.”

Similarly, Ronald Solis, owner of RL Solis LPG Trading and a Solane dealer in Laguna, not only had to increase store hours but hired more personnel for his six showrooms.  “We’re just lucky because our business is one of the most flexible and durable in times of crisis. That’s why we improved our delivery and increased our stock inventory. I also gradually extended store hours because some staff were coming in late and we needed people to accommodate inquiries and orders.”

Fortunately, their business strategies paid off. Unlike their competitors, they defied the business crisis that came with the pandemic.  “With many independent LPG companies closing in my area, I used that as an opportunity to intensify our conversion method. We improved our service, and because of that, we were able to gain the trust of our old and new customers,” he said.  

Instead of reducing operational hours and limiting client calls, Gerlie Gacad-Madrid, admin head of AMG Trading in La Union, shares that they made sure to regularly reach out to clients. “We believe that our continuous communication with our outlets built a strong foundation on business relations.” She, along with her staff of 21, amped up efforts to reach out to their clients: “We initiated calls to our clients, especially the poultry farms, and booked orders for delivery. When the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was eased to Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), a lot of business establishments were allowed to open. We took this opportunity to visit all our retail outlets and assured them of our committed service despite the risks brought by this pandemic.”

These business owners also credit Solane’s efforts in helping them seamlessly implement their business strategies for their respective companies. To make sure their personnel remain protected and healthy for work during the ongoing pandemic, the leading LPG brand provided financial assistance and protective personal gear  such as masks, alcohol and vitamins. Solane has also relaxed its disbursement terms for LPG hauling, giving these dealers enough leeway for their payments especially during the lockdown when mobility was limited.

It’s true that the pandemic has brought with it a lot challenges especially for businesses but, as can be seen from the thriving operations of Trianna Trading, RL Solis LPG Trading and AMG Trading, being quick to adapt and formulate crisis strategies can help any business survive and flourish in the new normal.