This time last year, businesses were facing unprecedented times, experiencing business disruption and full closures due to the spread of COVID-19. For the last several weeks, we’ve been catching up with companies to get their thoughts on the previous 12 months and outlooks for this year.
When COVID-19 first hit, Micheal Maxwell, senior manager of corporate strategic development for Mimaki, says the company initially thought, like most, that it would be an isolated situation and something manageable.
“However, as we moved into March, we quickly came to the realization that we needed to adjust quickly,” Maxwell explains.
That meant shifting the company’s focus to online efforts, focusing on video communication, increasing phone support, and offering tutorials and best practices to prepare customers should they find themselves needing to close for a time.
In addition to ramping up its social media presence, Mimaki also implemented support programs for its customers, negotiated low-interest rates and pricing for printers needing to expand or diversify their offerings, and created an outreach program to connect customers to their local communities to earn business.
“We opened our doors virtually and offered our customers a direct line to ask us questions in a live environment,” Maxwell adds. “We also connected with industry peers and asked them to give their perspective on the subjects at hand.”
As Mimaki completed the initial changes and shifted to all things virtual, Maxwell says the company has seen an increase in activity.
“Not just sales,” he notes. “We always had a great relationship, but since this all started, we have been amazed at just how creative, and supportive our peers and customers can be. So many of them have offered us feedback, participated in our efforts, and have supported our continuing desire to provide as much as we can to the printing community.”
Although the day-to-day business and social interactions have been less common, Maxwell says the Mimaki team has felt more connected to the printing community in the last few months.
In the last year, Mimaki has realized how important visual communication is to its communities and how supportive the printing community can be during trying times.
“It has been amazing to see how quickly PSPs can switch to something new and adopt new workflows. The influx of demand for our printers in some ways caught us off guard, and we learned that even in a global pandemic, we can’t afford to slow down,” Maxwell adds.
Mimaki has seen growth month over month since August 2020, and for the company and the industry, it has a positive outlook.