Mr. Müller, we had actually planned this interview for April 2020 – and then Covid-19 hit. To what extent has this global state of emergency affected training operations at the Krones Academy?
Müller: To a crucial extent, I can definitely say that. In normal circumstances, approximately 1,500 training participants per year visit us here in Neutraubling alone. And in March when the coronavirus crisis started in Germany, this number saw a massive slump. That changed our day-to-day business, sure, but it also gave us some basic food for thought as to what we needed to do in order to remain viable.
We’ve had to make changes, right down to how we coordinate training: it has become imperative to coordinate each training event afresh, those for our own service technicians and for our clients’ staff alike, to match current restrictions. What makes things difficult is that the relevant regulations just keep on changing. We hold crisis talks on a daily basis, to ensure swift response and appropriate coordination. Our colleagues in charge of managing this are doing an admirable job.
Can you give us an example of how the Krones Academy is coping with the current situation right now?
Müller: Our improvised room solution is a vividly illustrating one. Many of our rooms here at the Academy in Neutraubling have been dimensioned to accommodate eight to ten training participants – at present, though, only three people are permitted per room. But we don’t have training groups as small as that. So we’re currently unable to use 80 per cent of our rooms, but we found a fit-for-purpose makeshift: “outdoor training rooms”, which we’ve set up in the training hall. What’s more, for the severely reduced number of visitors we’re currently hosting here for in-person training, we’ve implemented ultra-stringent cleaning protocols – even more strict than in other areas of our facility.