We are changing the way we work
Ten years ago, when I envisioned Salvatori growing internationally and that we would open branches in Asia and North America, we upgraded to an Enterprise Resource System that was entirely Cloud-based. At the time there were very few to choose from and the software we arrived at was produced by Oracle – we were their first clients in Italy. It meant a big shift in our mindset, as the ERP contains all the data of our company, all the financial information, the confidential material, and it took some time to convince people that moving to the Cloud was going to benefit us in the future.
Looking back now, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve taken. Everything, from the orders and deliveries, to marketing documents, production files, and research and development can be accessed from anywhere in the world. And so, when lockdown was announced over a month ago, we could quickly make the switch to working at home without any impact on our work systems.
Before the crisis we would hold leadership meetings once a week, but that has now become every night. As we are not seeing each other in person it’s important to stay in regular contact, and though we are relying on video conferencing, the way we use it has changed. Typically video conferencing can be quite boring and without eye contact or physical contact it’s not particularly engaging – you don’t have the energy that you have in a real meeting. But we’re all putting in an effort to be focused and present during these calls because it is the only way to communicate. We have even introduced a new code of conduct for how to participate in meetings, with advice on how to light your face, for example, or how to position the webcam.
The crisis has affected some departments more than others. Our Marketing team are moving ahead with projects and products we were working on before lockdown, whilst the closure of our factory and showrooms means that our sales and production colleagues are supporting the company’s efforts in different, but nonetheless important ways. Instead we are seeing if there are ways to use our expertise differently, working with institutions and universities to develop equipment that will help in the fight against the virus, such as a mask you can make with 3D printed parts and products you can pick up at the supermarket.
There will come a time when we can take stock and rethink how we work, how we do business, and how our values can change to reflect the world after Coronavirus, but for now the most important thing is to protect our staff and their families. I have been amazed at how everyone has stepped in to do their bit. I always knew that we had an amazing team at Salvatori but it is really being proven in the current situation.
Gabriele Salvatori, CEO