Survival of the fittest


CHANGED TIMES  Jerome Gannon, Managing Director of Nomadic Display, addressing an event in Dusseldorf last year. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant all of his company’s business has had to diversify to survive.

The pandemic spelt disaster for Nomadic Display but they have had to adapt to survive

Michael Duffy

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the exhibition industry has being been nothing short of devastating, with all the major exhibition centres throughout Europe in complete lockdown - the result of which left Louisburgh based company Nomadic Display at a crossroads.
Several companies in the sector have have gone into liquidation and most others are hanging on by their figure tips, and as MD of Nomadic Display Jerome Gannon explained, his company are no exception.
“To avoid a complete closure, necessary remedial action was required. This took the form of laying half our staff off and salary cuts for those that remained, as well as a host of other cost cutting measures. All these action items were critical in terms of reducing cash burn.
“However, cutting costs, while absolutely necessary, will not avoid any company going bust. A strategy to maintain some level of sales turnover in order to survive, had to be put in place.”
Jerome and his team sat down, knowing the fact that 90 percent of their regular turnover was gone for now.
“We knew we needed to think outside the box, play to our strengths and examine what opportunities the pandemic may have to offer us. The result of this process was that we developed a range of social distancing screens and hand sanitising units. While this small reinvention of the company is not a silver bullet for ongoing success, it has contributed in a very positive way to keeping the show on the road for now - and the lights on.”
The company has also used the past six months to carry out a strategic marketing review with support from Enterprise Ireland.
“This exercise has proved very useful and will be critical to our survival in 2021. We now have a good marketing plan but that needs to be executed effectively and in a timely manner for it to bear fruit.
“Once the team identified the opportunity that Covid-19 presented, moving along that road was straight forward enough. Nomadic Display, as a manufacturer of exhibition display equipment for decades, are experts in aluminum frame assembly. We had the materials, we had the equipment and we had the necessary skill set, so it has gone well for us.”
Jerome feels the survival of local industries is heavily reliant on those still in business helping each other out during the pandemic.
“It is extremely important that local companies support each other as much as possible particularly in the times we now live in. At Nomadic Display we have supplied may local business with social distancing screens to help protect their staff and their customers, ranging from shops, restaurants, solicitors offices, schools, and hotels. We have also supplied to local companies Baxter Healthcare, Carraig Donn, Westrock and Steris. This business is very important to us at this time and all the team at Nomadic Display appreciate this. At the end of the day local companies and businesses are critical to maintaining communities.”
Jerome is quick to point out that the pandemic is far from over and 2021 will again bring another set of challenges for everyone in business.
“There is no question but that the pandemic has forced many companies to take a serious look at themselves and how they currently operate. The business environment has changed big time and even in a post pandemic era, attitudes of customers will have changed. Expectations of higher standards particularly around the area of personal safety will be something companies will have to embrace. For Nomadic Display, the pandemic still has the potential to inflict serious damage to the company. The longer it goes on the higher the risk to our survival becomes.
“However, we have adapted as best we can to doing different things, like our social distancing screens, and our online shop, aswell as a clear marketing plan for the business going forward. We have learned a lot from these activities and this new knowledge will undoubtedly feed into our planning as we aim to navigate our way through 2021. Surviving next year is the number one priority along with getting all our staff back to work. We are playing to win.”