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Sander Ekhart 'on the roll' before, during and after corona: "A world of difference"

From the run on toilet paper to the calm before the storm: suppliers of products and services needed for the smallest room in the house suddenly faced major challenges due to the sudden outbreak of Covid-19. Together with Sander Ekhart, commercial director of MTS EuroProducts, we are taking a look with the Cleaning News at the period before March 1, mid-April and after June 1: a world of difference. In terms of supply and demand, markets, customer loyalty, prices and what not. “It's crazy,” Sander begins our conversation. Of course, many people think that at companies who are providing a necessary service in this pandemic must be swimming in cash. But no, that is an assumption, not a matter of course. “We ended 2019 nicely. January and February were also good months, as was the first week of March. But in the second week of March, the world exploded. Everyone started hoarding toilet rolls and hygiene paper. Why is that? You could just stick your butt in the shower if you run out of paper... In 2008, we also had to deal with a virus, the Mexican flu. I'm not trying to downplay things, but suddenly now everyone is in complete shock and jumping from one thing to another."

Run on rolls When you're talking to Sander, you're talking to a down-to-earth toilet paper seller, a passionate relations builder and an enthusiastic team player. “We are one big team. What our logistics, office staff and purchasing department have achieved in recent weeks is enormous. Everyone is working up a storm. Our turnover doubled in March, which presented many challenges. We went from an average of 230 to 450 orders per day. Luckily we were able to keep servicing our existing customers, but we have not taken on any new customers. We have managed to get the job done, all of us together, even the new weekly production rate is the same as our past monthly production rate. The entire logistics chain and all suppliers have helped us so well. Super!" Run on hygiene A day after Prime Minister Rutte announced on April 21 that schools can let go of the intelligent lockdown policy to a certain extent, the run on hygiene has already started. “Dispensers, paper towels, soap; they are all flying out the door," Sander shares. “A run has also started on disinfection stands and stations.” The Downside “We are also negatively affected by the Covid pandemic,” Sander continues. “We have clients in segments such as hotels, hospitality, recreation, tourism and leisure, for example. We are missing out on dozens of orders in those sectors. It is expected that 30% of hospitality establishments will not make it. Suppliers to the hospitality industry, for example, are desperate. This week, a client came to see me who normally buys 4 to 5 pallets of toilet paper, but now only 4 boxes.” “We realize that the Covid pandemic is a hard blow for all entrepreneurs, but there are also opportunities. And we're going to seize them together!" “MTS Euro Products also sells cleaning rags made from recycled textiles. But if industries are at a stand-still, we don't sell any of those. And then there is the matter of whether your clients will be able to pay their outstanding bills.” The changes Everything now revolves around hygiene and hand hygiene in particular. “Everyone is practicing hand hygiene. You will encounter alcohol gel everywhere. In your car, in your bag, in your desk drawer," says Sander confidently. Likewise, hand dryers and linen towel rolls are being replaced by paper towel dispensers. “I was recently in a hospital where they still had air dryers, incomprehensible! A breeding ground for bacteria. In a hospital. Madness! We are fortunate that our product group is the first to be picked up again by the sectors that are allowed to return to the new normal. In recent months, we have demonstrated our delivery reliability. And yes, we realize that this corona crisis is a hard blow for all entrepreneurs, but there are also opportunities. And we're going to seize them together!"

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