Solane LPG retailers defy the pandemic odds

Published October 28, 2020, 8:00 AM

by Manila Bulletin

These Solane distributors defied the odds by adopting a proactive stance, and ended up hiring more people and extending their operational hours at the height of the pandemic

From big companies to small businesses, no one is spared from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have been forced to cut back or lay off majority of their workforce to survive from the global health and financial crisis. However, three companies defied the odds by adopting a proactive stance, and ended up hiring more people and extending their operational hours.

According to Solane distributor Grace Bernal of Trianna Trading, she had to increase her personnel during the height of the pandemic to ensure that the Metro Manila-based company remains fully operational. “I hired more personnel so the company won’t be paralyzed. When one couldn’t report to work, there’s someone who can temporarily take over.”

Currently, she has a total of 70 office staff and 26 riders for all 13 Solane showrooms around NCR, including those located in Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Montalban, Novaliches, Quezon City, San Juan and San Mateo. Increasing her staff means she also has to work extra hard to boost the company’s sales. “We had to look beyond what’s happening now and think of what’s going to happen, what we need to do next. For me, that meant doing everything we can to penetrate the market more – go back to distributing flyers, kung saan ang maramingtao, we will go there with our staff. There’s also the internet. Maraminang groups and marketplaces ngayon and we joined most of them.”

Similarly, Ronald Solis, owner of RL Solis LPG Trading and a Solane dealer in Laguna, not only had to increase store hours but hired more personnel for his six showrooms. “We’re just lucky because our business is one of the most flexible and durable in times of crisis. That’s why we improved our delivery and increased our stock inventory. I also gradually extended store hours with some staff coming late to accommodate late inquiries and orders.”

Fortunately, their business strategies paid off. Unlike their competitors, they defied the business crisis that came with the pandemic. “Many independent LPG companies were closing in my area and I used that as an opportunity to intensify our conversion method. We improved our service, and because of that, we were able to gain the trust of old and new customers,” he said.

In the case of GerlieGacad – Madrid, admin head of AMG Trading in La Union, she made sure that company personnel regularly reach out to clients, instead of limiting client calls and reducing operational hours. “We believe that our continuous communications with our outlets built a strong foundation on business relations.” She, along with her staff of 21, amped up efforts to reach out to their clients. “We initiated calls to our clients, especially the poultry farms, and booked orders for delivery. When the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was eased to Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), a lot of business establishments were allowed to open. We took this opportunity to visit all our retail outlets and assured them of our committed service despite the risks brought by this pandemic.”

These business owners also credit Solane’s efforts in helping them seamlessly implement their business strategies for their respective companies. To make sure their personnel remain protected and healthy for work during the ongoing pandemic, the leading LPG brand provided financial assistance and protective personal gear such as masks, alcohol and vitamins. Solane has also relaxed its disbursement terms for LPG hauling, givingthese dealers enough leeway for their payments especially during the lockdown when mobility was limited.

It’s true that the pandemic has brought with It a lot challenges especially for businesses but, as can be seen from the thriving operations of Trianna Trading and AMG Trading, being quick to adapt and formulate crisis strategies can help any business survive and flourish in the new normal.

 
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