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Where Are They Now? TVF One Year into the Pandemic

TVF's VP of customer experience Jeffrey Swedberg speaks on the company's experience in 2020

TVF

This time last year, businesses were facing unprecedented times, experiencing business disruption and full closures due to the spread of COVID-19. Now, one year into the pandemic, we’re catching up with companies to get their thoughts on the last 12 months and outlooks for 2021.

For TVF, a fabric supplier for the print media, signage, and apparel industries, there was a lot of uncertainty when word of the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Jeffrey Swedberg, vice president of customer experience, tells GRAPHICS PRO, “We knew business would be impacted short term, but the real question back in March was for how long. Our immediate focus shifted to making sure our team was set up for success to work remote and that we were reaching out to our customers to see how we could help and talk through new opportunities focused on PPE material and safety signage that was needed.”

Swedberg adds that while some of the markets TVF serves were severely impacted, other markets thrived as they shifted their production focus to personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Luckily, we were able to help in those efforts by providing fabric options and design templates,” he explains. “Customers in all our markets had to navigate the impact COVID had on their supply chain while also figuring out how to keep their teams safe and connected. Shifting nearly our entire office workforce to remote was also a challenge. Making sure we were still able to operate and fulfill orders while keeping our team and customers safe was our top priority.”

With the transitions, Swedberg says communication and collaboration became even more important and getting employees set up to work successfully was a must.

“That meant making sure we had the technology and a solid virtual platform set up to communicate with each other and that everyone could interact with their customers in the same way,” Swedberg says. “In some cases, we actually found ourselves having more facetime with customers than we had in the past, which was a positive surprise.”

He adds that while the transition took some time at first, the company made sure team members could also connect internally and collaborate. He says it’s not the same as in-person, but in some ways, the TVF team was able to communicate in more meaningful ways.

“We’re still all uncertain of what the future holds and what our new normal will look like, but the virtual togetherness we’ve established in the last nine months has become meaningful,” says Swedberg.

Keeping the tone of optimism going, he says the team at TVF’s ability to jump into and work remote “has been a pleasant surprise and a great benefit to many, so it’s something we’ll definitely consider continuing even after business as usual returns.”

He also expects some to significantly cut down on business-related travel now that video calls are a known success.

When it comes to the next six months to a year, Swedberg has big hopes for the industry as a whole.

“Even though this was a tough year for many of us, a lot of opportunities have presented themselves,” he affirms. “Companies should be focusing on how they want to position themselves in the marketplace, what that plan looks like for them both financially and with their team, and how to execute on that plan when the time is right to take advantage of new opportunities and existing opportunities that are opening back up again.”

Alexandria Bruce

Allee Bruce is the managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO and WRAPS magazines.

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