Making Connections, Growing Stronger
The first in a series of N! Virtual Connecting Days has taken place, with the focus on English speaking countries in Africa. It was led by Martin Hendriksen, N! Business Developer Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, and Nadir Ahmed, N! MNA regional structure manager. It saw the presence of many N! African members and 5 suppliers: Hella, Bosch, Bilstein, NRF and Ks Tools.
Ever since it was founded it has been an objective of NEXUS to connect its community wherever it is in the world, and many regional and global events have been organised.
The NEXUS Business Forum in March was possibly the last major aftermarket event at which face-to-face meetings between N! members and suppliers could be held.
So, to continue making those important connections, we are using technology and organising meetings online under our successful Connecting Days format. The main topic of these virtual events is:
“What the crisis means to you and what you feel is needed for an even stronger NEXUS emerging from this challenging period.”
After a warm welcome recorded from Brazil by the newly appointed N! Board of Directors Chairman, Gerson Prado, the meet-up began with an overview of current NEXUS activity before moving to focus on the English speaking African countries.
Firstly, the question was asked of N! suppliers, who reported the following consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- All had suffered major short-term turnover decline, but some have recovered to enjoy all-time record months
- Pressure on cash collection/debtors management
- Stock level issues, trying to reduce orders in the pipeline from Europe (logistics)
- Challenging themselves to provide exceptional service levels
- There was a focus on keeping their people safe / working from home / online training and communication
- Some have also focused on product development, catalogues and regional expansion plans during this period
Then the same question was asked of N! members, who reported:
- They echoed people safety and work from home activities
- Some grew local sourcing in the face of supply issues
- Similar to suppliers, those members with better planning and agility survived a lot better
- Cautiously optimistic, taking things one day at a time
The overall perception among the participants was that the situation was getting better across country as a whole, despite some questionable political management and the level of poverty in certain countries.
In these uncertain times the N! community needs even more support and what has been done at regional level is to provide training, while also listening to the needs of N! suppliers and members.
The outcomes for Nexus from this first N! Virtual Connecting Day was to maintain a focus on strong community connections and strong communication, continually boosting, promoting and expanding N! Academy activities, and helping with supply chain agility and optimisation.