There are glimpses of a positive return to business but, at the same time, companies are instituting cost-saving measures including staff cuts and salary reductions
There are several positive signs in this most recent COVID-19 Impact Survey: more companies operating at full capacity, project work is slowly resuming, thawing communication between providers and customers, and hints that revenue prospects may be stabilizing, even while — short term — revenues are still declining.
But at the same time the industry is getting its feet under it, and as companies are starting to see a clearer picture of what’s ahead, more firms are taking difficult steps, including cutting staff and reducing salaries. In some respects, feedback indicates companies are getting a handle on demand and scaling to an appropriate level of operations.
Said one AV provider, “We have seen a P.O. cancelled, several schedules delayed further, and a strong interest in touchless solutions to enable people to come back to work and avoid touch panels. We are operating at full staff, but well below capacity due to projects being held up. We can perform most tasks off site, with a remote connection, but the installation teams ahead of us cannot.”
According to another, “As AV suppliers, we are starting to see an increase in inquiries for supplies, but not many people are actually buying them. Many integrators we work with are still saying projects have been cancelled or put on hold …. There seems to be no end in sight.”
Said a third, “The company manages to pay salaries with government loans, and private loans and savings are being used to subsist.”
This week, 59% of AV end user respondents to the survey fielded June 9-10, said their companies had been impacted negatively by the pandemic in the last seven days. Roughly 57% of AV providers perceived a negative impact in the past week, down from 62% in the last survey and the first time that figure has fallen below 60% since AVIXA Market Intelligence began collecting impact data in March.
“The process of returning to in-person meetings and full business travel is going to be a long one,” said an AV end user customer. “In fact, we’re barely just now starting to bring people back from WFH due to the need to revise workspace layouts and policies to meet social distancing guidelines. This will be a long haul … and some areas may never return to normal.”
Positive Trends Accelerate
In the most recent Impact Survey, 28% of AV providers reported operating a full-capacity project load, up from 24% last week; 62% reported working at a reduced capacity.
When we asked respondents about positive developments over the past seven days, AV providers showed the clearest signs of improvement: 51% said projects had resumed (up from 40% last week), 21% said revenues had improved (up from 16%), and 54% said they’d seen increased inquiries (up from 45%). As they ponder the AV supply chain, 19% of AV providers and 18% of AV end users said it had improved over the prior week (up from 14% and 9%, respectively, saying so before).
“Business is stabilizing, and we are slowly seeing an effective path to future success,” said one AV provider.