- It’s been a long lockdown are you hopeful we’re nearing the end?
I believe that it is a long lockdown in Ireland with the restrictions which are thankfully now easing. It is a lot different in Germany, while everything is closed apart from Supermarkets, people are allowed out and allowed to travel. The rules are that no more that two people are to be together (unless it’s two adults and children), people who are in pairs or on their own, must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others. No two people are allowed to be together unless they are from the same household.
Early May the Bundesministeriums für Gesundheit announced the easing of restrictions and the opening of some schools, shops and offices, it is also mandatory to wear masks. The wearing of masks is enforced strictly by the Police, Security and the General Public and I have been shouted at on two occasions for not having my mask on. Now I just put it on when leaving home in the morning and take it off when I get home like most of the people in Frankfurt do.
- How have you adapted to work – what’s your new work normal?
The restrictions mean that I am unable to visit our ongoing and new projects in Scandinavia. While it is possible to visit Sweden, travelling through Denmark to get to these projects will be problematic as the Danish restrictions are very strict. Finland is on a complete lockdown and will not be lifted until the end of May. If the restrictions are lifted, there might be further constraints with self-quarantine required when entering the Country.
The border with France is closed and the restrictions there will be going on a lot longer that other parts of Europe. We are engaging with the stakeholders on the projects that we are working on and getting fantastic support from Enterprise Ireland in Paris. We are also getting great support and assistance with Enterprise Ireland in Madrid, Spain for projects we are in consultation on at present. While we are able to carry out Zoom meetings, they are limited and we need to have a physical presence in the region and have a high level of collaboration and stakeholder engagement.
It is possible to travel to the Netherlands from Germany which is good for us as we have existing projects on site along with new projects starting. The building sites in the Netherlands are very well organised to deal with the crisis, on arrival your temperature is taken before you can get past security. The sites are monitored by the safety officers with an immediate expulsion off site for anyone not observing the 1.5 metre distance. With the new and upcoming projects that we have in the Netherlands, we are able to meet the relevant stakeholders on sites, obviously at a safe distance. With the client based in the UK, the design team in the Netherlands, we are able to have our weekly Zoom meeting to update the progress of the project.
- How are you and family adapting?
I am coping great as I am healthy and abiding by the recommendations and restrictions outlined by the Bundesministeriums für Gesundheit to stay safe. My family are all in Ireland and they are coping with the situation the same as everyone else at home. I am on Zoom to them very often and we have WhatsApp groups for sharing photos and messages.
- Did you set yourself a “to do list” – do any of it?
Yes, the to do list firstly had to deal with the immediate challenges that are presented to us in delivering our products and services. It then involves dividing the list into partners who we currently have projects on site with and potential collaborators for new projects and new markets that we are trying to gain entry. I then have to communicate with everyone on the list at least once a week on updated them on supply and to assist them with any queries. We are using technology where ever we can to deliver our services through Zoom and Webinars.
- What has been your own personal challenge
The lack of social interaction has been very challenging. Between the large amount of social events I attended weekly with Enterprise Ireland, The Irish Consulate, The Irish Embassy, The Irish Business Network and Internations, these events have stopped completely. MOY have also set up a cycling club in collaboration with other Irish Construction Companies operating in Germany that has members from all over Europe. We are unable to meet to go cycling anymore, we can’t have more than two of us together and none of us are from the same house, so we are all cycling solo at the moment. But I am looking forward to attending these events and getting back out cycling with a large group again when the restrictions are lifted.
- Have you found any positives?
Yes, I forget what it is like to be in a traffic jam or on a packed tram. The Autobahn was practically empty in the morning and evenings, sometimes I had the entire carriage to myself on the tram. But it is starting to get busy again with the lifting of restrictions.
- What do you believe will be the new landscape for roofing/construction on reopen?
The new landscape is going to be very positive on reopen. The crisis has been an inconvenience to the current phase of our market expansion strategy in the Benelux and Scandinavian regions. We also achieved the expected traction on our market entry strategy into France and Spain. This strategy will need to be reviewed on an ongoing basis as we are still committed to gaining and growing our market share in these regions, We will also need to review our market entry strategy to Austria and Switzerland which was expected to commence in quarter two of this year. We are getting a lot of positive feedback from Enterprise Ireland in Switzerland and this region is an attractive market for Moy.
One of our competitive advantages is the physical presence we have in target markets and the social interaction that we have with all the key stakeholders in the major projects. When the construction industry reopens we will revert to having the same high levers of B2B interaction and we are also researching Business Service Innovations through various technology that will give us a further competitive advantage.
- Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows – a complete surprise………..
I don’t like horror movies
- End on your best Dad joke……. We’ve all got one!
I’m not a Dad, but here goes………………………
Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Have you heard of Cole’s Law?………. It’s shredded cabbage with mayonnaise.