Not far from the city centre, yet well connected to the ring roads, Verco Milano, a retailer of spare parts for refrigeration and air conditioning, has a warehouse of 2,500 m2, 300 brands, 18,000 products on catalogue of which 8,000 readily available. With these numbers, the company can satisfy all the requests of its clients, technicians and installers.
Even in times of emergency, as the past few months. “Although our work has significantly slowed down, there has always been a need for components from those who had to keep the essential supply chains operating” Stefano Veronesi explains, co-owner of the company with his brother Roberto. “The warehouse of Verco Milano has been open the whole time, even with limited staff and at reduced hours. This was possible primarily thanks to the flexibility of our warehouse workers, who allowed us to keep the warehouse active through shifts and with all security measures in place. And we are very grateful for this. Office staff was able (via computer network and telephone lines) to work remotely within two or three days since the beginning of lockdown”.
March and April were characterised by a drastic drop in orders, especially some supply chains such as air conditioning. “Now work is restarting and those very chains that had almost stopped, have picked up at full speed”. However, many manufacturing companies have stood still for a while. “Of course, and this certainly caused difficulties to acquire components, but the simultaneous drop in requests meant that we were able to satisfy customers with our stock. Despite the reduction in work, we continued to place orders to producers so as to get to this moment of recovery certain of being adequately supplied. Which indeed happened.” In Verco Milano, the warehouses are now working at full speed again, even with all security measures in place as required by the law, while the offices and commercial staff are still working remotely: “For the time being, all the commercial activities are halted and we do not know when they will resume”.
Do you mostly work with established customers today? “Essentially, yes. With them, we launched a project that we would have liked to present at Mostra Convegno: the web shop, our e-commerce site, which, in times where one needs to limit contacts and the presence at the warehouse, is proving extremely useful. Thanks to the possibility to place orders online, we prepare all deliveries in advance; as soon as they are ready, the customer just comes and collects them, with no need to access the warehouse. Initially, we had thought at different conditions and purposes for this, but it is proving effective in facilitating our job even in a situation like the present one”.
What do you expect in the near future? “I don’t like to make predictions, less so in a situation like this where the things depend on too many variables that are beyond our control. Our big fear now is how the next two to three months will evolve. That is going to be the real test, since payments are deferred by 60-90 days from deliveries. There we will see what this crisis has really left behind. There will definitely be situations of true difficulties and there will likely be insolvencies because some sectors have almost completely stopped. To complicate matters, there is an unclear situation regarding government incentives and so far, not many of our customers received them, despite having the right credentials. On the other hand, some sectors could carry on working and I believe that those who can have a moral duty, now more than ever, to live up to their commitments. So we did, with the state, with our suppliers and, first and foremost, towards our employees, the heart and engine of our company”.