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Paul Collins, the Country Manager for the Middle East and Africa region at Acer, speaks about the measures his company has taken to continue business without disruption, providing uninterrupted service to customers, and more

During this COVID-19 crisis, what measures have you undertaken to continue your own business without disruption?
Fortunately, Acer already had the measures in place for the team to work from home so there was a seamless transition into the new working environment. Making the most of applications such as Microsoft Teams as well as internal Acer software has helped the team stay connected and ensure workstreams are maintained.

What measures and initiatives have been taken to provide uninterrupted service to customers?
Acer has witnessed a surge in demand, led by the number of professionals now working from home and students e-learning. A lot of consumers have had to upgrade their home devices, to ensure they have the right IT in their home, to meet their needs. Acer is fortunate that all of our distributors in the UAE are operational and are capable of importing and supplying products.

To cope with the rise in demand, we are working closely with our retail partners to be able to offer a range of laptops, allowing customers to choose the best laptops for them. We have worked very hard on our forecasting with our partners, utilized our local logistics hub more than usual and looked at some financial assistance to partners to weather this storm. We do run a very tight just in time stock model which we have had to relax a little to mitigate some of the inevitable delays that we are experiencing.

Which top industry verticals and markets have you seen the maximum traction? How has COVID-19 impacted business with existing customers in those verticals and markets?
Acer has witnessed an increase of 20% in its gaming range, based on weekly monitoring. As a result of people spending more time indoors, we have noticed a rise in two types of gamers – casual and hardcore. First, the ‘hardcore’ gamers who were already passionate about the activity are spending more time honing their skills, purchasing fancier equipment and rising through the ranks.

Secondly, the pandemic has seen a wave of a new generation of gamers joining the gaming community as people look for new ways of entertainment whilst at home. Since all the traditional sports have suspended their seasons and their broadcasts, fans are really searching for a way to get their sports fix.

Those who are passionate about sports but are stuck indoors, have also taken to gaming to discover the world of e-sports. In addition, our Acer for Education segment is thriving as we witnessed a surge in orders from educational institutions and the resellers as Learn from Home is the norm these days.

Have you put in place any contingency plans if this crisis persists or gets escalated?
These are indeed awakening times for individuals, businesses and governments who have all had to revisit strategies and shift tactics. From a supply chain perspective, we have managed to resolve any issues or delays faced in terms of getting the products to the end-user thanks to healthy levels of local stocks as well as cooperation with local ports of entry. In terms of managing the team working remotely, Acer had already implemented measures in order for employees to seamlessly transition and to ensure output is not disrupted.

What sort of business and financial impact do you expect for your business as a result of COVID-19?
In the long term, we expect the impact of COVID-19 to continue to increase laptop sales and more. The personal computer or laptop is still very much in demand, and we expect the demand for these products to continue its upward trajectory.

In addition, as more companies adopt remote working, we foresee a strong shift to cloud-based solutions and Acer is well positioned to be able to cater to this demand. As we are witnessing a shift to a one student one device model in education across the region, we are also prepared to cater to this demand with the robust line-up in the Windows and Chrome environments.

Have you kick-started any initiatives for your employees to better handle this crisis?
To continue to motivate the team working from home, we have implemented various strategies to boost employee morale from weekly virtual meetings to weekly updates and even a virtual celebration as we have now 28 years of successful business in Middle East.

We have shared interesting courses available on LinkedIn Learning, so employees can continue to develop their skills, whilst they are at home. We are also continuously staying connected in order to help our workforce with time management, and sharing tips on how to stay healthy, safe and fit, through our HR.

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