Editorial - Archive

Anticipating the emergency

Guido Gambassi

The Covid-19 pandemic and the following lockdown were a "first time" for everyone, therefore, no one was prepared. Sure, things could have been handles more efficiently, perhaps, but it was the first time so it’s about time we come to terms with the facts. However, although this “first time” has passed, the virus will likely be with us for a while, just as the measures put in place in an effort to contain it. Hopefully, we might learn something from this experience. This spring, tire specialists experienced severe difficulties - as have so many other sectors, of course. True, they were lucky enough to be allowed to remain open at all times, but motorists were not allowed to go there for a tire change or for any other “non-urgent” job. During the past few months much of the confusion and difficulties experienced were, in part, the result of not knowing: not knowing what to say to customers, not knowing whether to close the shop or keep it open (and in that case, how much staff would be allowed? With what prospects?), and finally, not knowing when and under what conditions it would have been possible to proceed with the seasonal tire change. Once the deadline was extended to 15th of June, it was finally possible to carry on with the tire change and get back to work with at least some planning.

The next few months, however, will be equally filled with unknowns: will traffic resume as normal? How will the national economy and transport services fare? What will be the purchasing power of families? How will public health be affected by the spread of the Covid-19 virus in autumn? Among all these doubts, tire dealers are left with a single certainty: lead-times in the workshop, due to safety protocols for the containment of the contagion, have expanded significantly with huge repercussions. Learning from experience, in this case, means looking ahead to the next seasonal change with a bit of foresight, without being forced to a last minute dash to try to compress in a month the amount of work that would normally take place in a couple of months. In short, it would be appropriate to foresee, as of now (not in December), extended deadlines, suitable to the needs of new working conditions. We often hear that a crisis will afford us the opportunity to learn to work more efficiently; well, by the looks of it, next autumn we will likely have a great opportunity!

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