Welcome to the first of our new Cabin Catch Up series, where we interview people within the onboard services industry and find out how they have been tackling the challenges of 2020.
This week we are joined by Samantha Collas, Business Excellence Manager at Korita Aviation. As a manufacturer of aviation and rail catering equipment, they have had to quickly respond to the new operating reality. Read on to find out how Korita has responded:
What became the top priority for you/your business once COVID-19 started to spread and lockdowns were introduced?
Our priorities were two-fold; implementing all the necessary measures to protect our employees in the workplace and support our business partners as they navigate through the unprecedented circumstances being faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Did your business transition to working from home and have you started to return to the office, or are planning to before the end of 2020?
We have faced this, initially in China when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and government restrictions meant that there was a period where we were not able to operate from our manufacturing location. Our team handled this brilliantly and took great care of all of our customers.
Our global headquarters is based in Nuth, The Netherlands, so when the lockdown restrictions came into action, we also worked from home for a period. Given the experience we had in China, we were very well prepared and made use of all modern technology to ensure that business could be maintained without any impact to our business partners.
While remote management of employees is different, we embraced it positively seeing it as an opportunity to explore different communication methods that are less utilised in an office environment. So, we also had fun with it!
“Naturally, the challenges being faced within our industry is something we share together, which means that our relationships have become even stronger, as we face this together.”
How have your conversations with customers changed in light of the COVID pandemic and did new business opportunities or ideas arise during this time?
In essence, we haven’t had to adapt that much as we always operate on a basis of partnership and really do take the time to understand the challenges our customers are experiencing and offer solutions that really address their needs.
Naturally, the challenges being faced within our industry is something we share together, which means that our relationships have become even stronger, as we face this together.
We really try and offer support to our industry where we can, it is for this reason that we decided to select a manufacturer who has been operating in the medical device industry since 1988 that manufactures disposable face masks Type II with CE Mark. Now, we can support our industry business partners by supplying disposable face masks for quantities <200,000.
What do you think is the key priority for the onboard services market and what impact do you feel COVID will have on the onboard services supply chain over the coming years?
Clearly, as an industry, we are all looking to navigate through an environment never witnessed before. As medical professionals and governments learn more about the virus, necessary actions are being undertaken on short notice. This means that while the travel industry is doing its utmost to restore passenger confidence to travel, at the same time airlines are having to plan for what may seem ‘the unplannable’ at times.
We are conscious of this and therefore know that predictions now are likely not to hold true in a few months’ time. Clearly, the delivery of a vaccine is key to future predictions in travel and onboard catering requirements.
What did you miss by not being at WTCE this year?
We really missed meeting with our existing and future customers. It is such a great event and creates an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our products and showcase our latest innovations. The atmosphere is fantastic at the WTCE and we genuinely look forward to exhibiting there every year.
So, whilst postponing the event was the right thing to do, we genuinely missed meeting up with our business partners during the show this year. Looking forward though, after all this time apart it means that 2021 will definitely be the show to attend!
Meet Korita Aviation at WTCE 2021
You’ll be able to meet Korita Aviation at WTCE 2021 on stand 1D10. For more information about the services they provide, visit their website.
Would you like to be featured in our Cabin Catch Up series? Simply get in touch with the WTCE team.