Manufacturing & Supply Chain

Solid Solutions: How one business is adapting to COVID-19 changes

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Solid Solutions: How one business is adapting to COVID-19 changes

Solid Solutions: How one business is adapting to COVID-19 changes
May 22
13:38 2020
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History will tell us what the medium and long term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on business have been. We have all seen changes to everyday working. As a service provider delivering engineering design solutions to thousands of design and engineering companies, at Solid Solutions, we were uncertain about the impact our customers would experience. Like everyone else, we had to jettison our business plan overnight and come up with a new strategy to maintain our communication and service levels. The challenge was not insignificant. Our main engagement with customers has always been heavily based on face-to-face activities. We have scaled this up over the past few years to deliver a huge calendar of live activities with events, training classes and seminars taking place every working day of the year, across Ireland and the UK. Naturally, all of this stopped in the space of an unprecedented 24 hours and we suddenly found ourselves cut off from all forms of direct interaction.

There was no playbook for us to refer to but one thing was immediately apparent, everything would have to go digital. We have run webinars in the past, of course, our Webcast Wednesday live webinars ran for several years, but customer attitudes had moved towards video-on-demand so we had built a library of video content for customers to use, but this was going to need to be different.

The strange nature of what we were all experiencing presented a new opportunity though. We quickly recognised the determination in many people to make use of the free time offered up through working from home, furlough, or reduced working hours. Customers had more time to talk about topics and technologies that a busy schedule would have previously hampered. We set about delivering a schedule of daily live broadcasts. Initially, we focused on the technological challenges of working at home and using design software but once everyone had settled into a routine, we shifted our attention to exploring personal development and upskilling.

We started to see customers looking ahead to what comes next. The ‘Recovery Race’. As businesses go back up through the gears they will need to find new efficiencies and take every advantage on offer from the technology and services they use. We started getting requests for topics on our productivity tools such as data management and collaboration. Useful, of course, during this time of remote working but we can see how businesses are looking at making sure they never get caught short again, when it comes to file access and sharing when needing to work remotely. Our audience started to build quickly and we have been delivering live content to over 1,000 engineers and designers every week. We have started to change up the formats to encourage interaction, questions, and live engagement. In week three we were able to host a live certification event for SOLIDWORKS software users to over 800 designers, of which 93% passed and became Certified SOLIDWORKS Associates. This turned out to be the largest SOLIDWORKS certification event that’s ever been held and certainly isn’t something we would have ever expected before lockdown began.

Under normal circumstances, this kind of material would only be delivered to customers paying a subscription fee. The pandemic and its consequences, however, have changed the attitude and approach of many service providers. The prevailing sentiment has been that we are all in this together. At Solid Solutions, we chose to unlock our registrations to anyone wanting to join us and we provided the certifications free of charge. In time this will all return to normal we hope, but for now, we will continue to broadcast free live events to share knowledge and provide education. At some point, the recovery race will begin in earnest and engineering companies will take themselves back into the market having hopefully gained some new skills and insights into the software they have available to them so that they can compete and get back up to speed as quickly as possible.

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