In a Sept. 10 Monitor webinar on charting a course through the Covid-19 pandemic, Alta’s Diane Croessmann and several other thought leaders representing the equipment finance industry offered observations and advice from their various perspectives.

The panelists all stressed the importance of putting customers first, focusing on how the global healthcare crisis has affected them. They advised finding ways to fully understand their challenges and being in touch personally, and not just about business. While staying grounded to manage business risks, they proposed being creative to accelerate technology adoption and prepare for emerging opportunities.

“Virtually every business and employee has been impacted by Covid-19.  The role that the equipment leasing and financing industry can play to support the recovery occurs on many levels,” said Croessmann. “We all need to embrace new norms, address employee concerns and examine emerging technology options. Most importantly, companies need to do all of this with tremendous enthusiasm and optimism in order to find the new opportunities that exist.”

Restructuring was the first priority during the pandemic’s early months, she said, but now there is interest in identifying new markets and pushing forward on business models that enable consumption-based financing.

Croessmann also observed how some factories were able to pivot from their usual business to manufacturing personal protective equipment. She said that ability to be flexible and move from one operation to another for short-term fulfillment, along with automation, is creating a “flex factory” model, likely to become a trend.

Vince Belcastro of Element Fleet Management talked about the value of a consultative approach, and he said his team has become even more interactive with customers during this pandemic. He said Element is taking a longer view. “These times require delivering above-market quality service.”