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Finding our way – where to from here?

A look at what faces the industry in the months ahead.

I’m sure that, by now, you never want to hear the phrase ‘new normal’ ever again – and we don’t blame you. The reality, though, is that we certainly have entered a phase of life that is very different from everything we’ve known before, and which is sure to be here for a while. Those of you who have already returned to business will already know this to be true.

For most of us, the shock will be primarily financial. Although we all understand the importance of compliance, this comes at a cost. With many of the almost 2 500 aftermarket workshops represented by MIWA already having taken a hit during the lockdown, we are expecting to see this impact deepen over the coming months. Expert opinion holds that it may take as long as nine to 12 months for businesses to recover from the financial effects of the lockdown. At present, most workshops are operating at only 30-65% of their turnover; a situation worsened by a worrying new trend by customers, who authorise repairs but delay collection and payment because of their own pressured cash flow.

Most industry players believe that the functional demands of our industry won’t change too drastically in the post-COVID world, although we are likely to see a lot more business conducted online, as many members have responded very well to this way of working and the increased efficiency it allows.

Although the industry has adapted well to the new sanitisation protocols, we need to be more vigilant than ever as South Africa prepares for a predicted spike. 

That said, it’s possible to flourish in this new environment. We simply need to approach everything we do with caution and measured optimism.