The Corona crisis: Is there a way of making „the best of it?“

How is the construction industry feeling about the current situation? Are there any recipes for success? Are there even beneficial effects to be seen? As their advertising agency, we asked some of our best customers.

Having all just left rather frugal Easter holidays behind us, we are looking at a more and more difficult economic situation in Germany. Meanwhile 725,000 companies announced short-time-work, that is they apply for government assistance to pay their employees. Many offices are empty, whoever is allowed and able to, stays at home and works from there. Practically all German car manufacturers, our national pride and joy, stopped their production and are on hold. Corona restrictions brake down economy and industry as a whole. Substantial alleviations like the re-establishing of the freedom of assembly will have to wait. It is not even sure, if the Steinexpo 2020 in late August will take place.  

Construction Industry: Like the “Little Gallic Village”
Against this background, the construction industry may be considered as the notable exception. Many construction sites are still up and running, although frequently two problems occur: Many workers that come from abroad have difficulties in passing the borders, so the workforce on many sites is cut down. Construction material coming – or not coming – from abroad is also a problem.

A positive effect of the dramatically reduced car traffic on small roads but also freeways: This would allow to carry out long-overdue road reconstruction measurements right now. The demand and necessity for road and infrastructural repair in Germany is tremendous. Though opportunity is golden now, there is a constant lack of contractors, what the current crisis will probably not change for the better.
Concerning the construction equipment, many of the ordered machines will be delivered as scheduled, there is even still a substantial new machines business going on. However, some dealers currently refuse to take used equipment as trade-in. Some manufacturers and dealers have severe problems with the spare part supply, so more than one service organization is closed.

When enemies become friends
The Corona crisis separates those machine dealers who still have their own spare parts warehouses from those who saved money and space by relying fully on just-in-time delivery. Desperate as they are, they sometimes even pass their customers in need of repair works and service on to their former competitors, if these are only able to grant it.

One macabre Corona side effect: Business with rental machines is thriving, especially power generators, tents and the material needed to establish and provide makeshift hospitals and medical tents. Another Corona-caused boost for the construction industry, a grim one of course. 

Thomas Krätz, SK+P

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