Sponsored by Societe Generale Equipment Finance

Key learning points from lockdown and covid crisis 

Although the crisis is not over, let’s share a few learning points that Societe Generale Equipment Finance (SGEF) has drawn from the past few months and weeks. They have helped us to confirmed our strategy and core values.   

The lockdown and its brutal impact on our lives pushed us to go back to basics and experience what Maslow meant with his pyramid of essential needs. It took us a few days to realize that it was our new reality and not just the latest Netflix blockbuster with all its sensational scenarios.

Once done, we were able to identify what were our basic needs.

Food supply aside, we probably all came to the conclusion that what we were really looking for was some certainty and a secure base, a place where we could be safe until the crisis was over. In these challenging and uncertain times, in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world we are living in - at least now we know how far this concept can go - we had to focus on key priorities to properly manage the crisis and the available resources.

Reliability has quickly proven to be the most important value : we needed a reliable household as no one would ever come to repair a washing machine or a fridge, reliable connectivity to stay in contact with our friends and family but also to be able to work remotely and somewhat surprisingly reliable family members so that the lockdown in a limited living space did not turn into a complete nightmare.

These thoughts which are relevant for the personal sphere were also very accurate for our professional life.

This crisis has only emphasized what we already knew : strong and reliable teams have confirmed that they could be trusted and depended upon in a challenging working environment. Strong and reliable partners were available to address urgent problems, new business situations and co-construct solutions with us to support their pipelines. The Covid crisis has brought further contrast to existing situations and obviously trust has proven to be essential but also had fueled us to be able to react so quickly and address so many issues in such a short timeframe. The long term nature of our vendor partnerships built on TRUST and longevity provided a comfort to support the operational actions between the parties.

The crisis has forced us to be more pragmatic, autonomous, resisting to the usual sought for perfection while an “ok” solution was much more desirable in the short term and could be improved over time. Trust has allowed us to properly manage our resources, internal, external and more globally our level of energy which was put under massive pressure.

Chris Hanlon, Managing Director, First Citizen Finance

George Ormsby, Head of SME, First Citizen Finance

How did Investec support its customers?

“Cash has proven to be King”, customers have been carefully managing their liquidity positions and this has expanded the scope of funding solutions for equipment financiers, including SGEF, winning traction with some corporates which used to pay cash and are now more favorably looking at leasing solutions or payment plans.And if “Cash is King” then “Communication has proven to be Queen”. We had to manage and defeat the “out of sight, out of mind” proverb as we were running our business from as many locations as we have numbers of staff, with no other mean to keep in contact with our partners and customers than through calls and other digital solutions. It has been essential to stay in close contact with our teams, our customers, our manufacturers and suppliers (vendors). Be open and be ready to share good practices and ideas in these unprecedented circumstances and most of all carry on.

SGEF relied on its strong PARTNERSHIPS with manufacturers and suppliers (vendors) and its end customers in a mutually beneficial way. The partnerships brought support in both directions with vendors freezing depreciation curves on remarketing support and SGEF providing products with low start rentals on new deals with the STRONGER TOGETHER campaign, a dedicated offer to restart the sales processes and exit the crisis to support our partners, vendors and dealers in order to help them convert pipelines into booked deals and our existing clients with payment deferral until 2021.

SGEF has remained open for business throughout the COVID 19 pandemic ensuring deals could be completed and sales revenues booked by the vendors without any single day of disruption, all over the world in all our operating subsidiaries from Asia to the Americas through Europe. Despite difficult operating environments all SGEF entities remained open and fully operational. This brought value to both partners and end users. SGEF remained consistent to its VALUES of providing added value products and exceptional service throughout the COVID crisis. The vendors rewarded SGEF with continuing business. They understand the value of the relationship, well beyond short term discussions focused on the lowest price available.

The core values of SGEF proved resilient to the pressures of the challenging working environment. Strong communication and transparency were and will remain at the heart of the partnerships. Longevity, reliability and trust will continue to be the foundation pillars of our relationships with our partners, vendors and clients. Being relevant and adapting our customer offers inspire our strategy and will continue to do so.

We are a solution provider beyond equipment finance.

Florence Roussel Pollet, Co-Chief Commercial Officer - SGEF

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Telephone Number: +353 (0)1 884 6743