Saturday, June 22, 2024
From The MagQuick HitsState of the Industry - PHILIP SCHINNAGEL - CORE

State of the Industry – PHILIP SCHINNAGEL – CORE

COVID-19 has impacted all of us and our families. Kitesurfing Magazine publisher John Bryja caught up with some of the leading CEOs to find out more about the impact of COVID on the kitesurfing industry. 

What was the biggest challenge for your company during the COVID-19 over the past year-and-a-half? 

Philip Schinnagel: First of all, we are relieved that our company and industry thrived during this pandemic. We didn’t lay any employees off. And our customers were allowed to kite throughout the pandemic, at least here in our home country, which resulted in overwhelming demand. And who would have expected that in April of last year? While many manufacturers immediately reduced their production at that time, we remained confident and produced as planned. Thanks to our long-term purchasing, planning, and deep partnerships in the value chain, we were able to deliver–albeit delayed–our products. However, the challenging business environment doesn’t end at the Fehmarn Bridge, and therefore we apologize for some product delays. 

When the pandemic started, a big challenge for our industry was that many production sites were shut down for several weeks to months and could not produce anything. That supply gap still hasn’t been filled. In addition, there were raw material bottlenecks, partly due to climate change, which no one could have foreseen. And finally, global logistics are still overloaded because everyone is trying to close the gaps left by the pandemic. As a result, the international transfer of goods is three-to-four times more expensive than before and more difficult to book due to the high demand. Incidents like the one in the Suez Canal do not make this development any better, of course.

Are there any issues going forward, and what steps did you take to mitigate them?

Philip Schinnagel: Interestingly, we haven’t changed much. Our long-term purchasing plan, which is considered conservative elsewhere, and our 2-year product cycles, which we have always followed, are particularly beneficial to us now. We are deepening our partnerships, relying on trust rather than exchanging them. We communicate early and openly with our customers to adjust expectations. Of course, it helps that many of our products, such as twintips and surfboards, are produced in the EU, including our brand new Imperator 7, which are built at our sister company Elan. From a transportation perspective, our EU production facilities are practically on our doorstep. And together with our large raw material purchases, we’ve continued producing during these challenging times. 

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