The Covid-19 crisis places even greater responsibility on company managers than is usually the case. Accountability for employees, customers and suppliers, and at the same time ensuring the continued existence of the company, has required quick decisions and swift action in recent weeks. Satoshi Otsuki, President & COO of CHARMANT Europe, gives us an insight into his approach to protecting people and getting the company through the crisis.
What has been the greatest learning for you in recent weeks overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic?
I experienced great solidarity and alert awareness within our team in the face of the challenging situation. We come from Japan, where the problems appeared earlier than in Europe, so we reacted to the situation pretty quickly. New house rules were introduced and our team took some spontaneous initiatives right from the start to help us and our partners minimise the risks. I am very proud of our CHARMANT team, which has shown an impressive sense of responsibility and team spirit.
Even if the general situation seems to be calming down, Covid-19 will be with us for a while. What does the “new normal” look like for CHARMANT now that business is gradually starting up again?
We all know that things can change at any time and that they can be irrevocable. I wish I could say we had a perfect plan for this world after Covid-19, but unfortunately I can't: many things are still unknown and we will learn a lot from it.
However, one thing is very clear: we are active in the eye care industry and therefore work on essential needs in life – to improve vision and protect health. Our industry has a great and unchanged responsibility towards society.
What should the company pay particular attention to now?
People’s health and strict compliance with local safety requirements wherever we operate. This is and will remain our top priority.
What has CHARMANT been undertaking to best support its customers during the crisis?
We kept providing some key services with reduced resources to continue supporting our customers. However, patience has been required in recent weeks. Now we can offer our partners more support again without jeopardising the newly defined health and safety protocol. We are currently actively working on our new services to express our gratitude.
Where do you see the strengths of CHARMANT? Which ones have shown themselves particularly clearly in the crisis?
I see not only our strengths, but those of all players in our industry. The entire optical world has, in one way or another, contributed to helping society by providing essential eye care services and supporting the medical industry by providing protective materials. CHARMANT acted and continues to act as a responsible member of this society and we do what we have to do for it. In times of crisis it becomes very clear what really matters.