Exclusive: Gibsons says it is prioritising communications to keep its supply chain working effectively

Kate Gibson talks about keeping the business up and running amid the outbreak of Covid-19

Written by Georgie Dobie

Posted 27.04.2020 | Business

Exclusive: Gibsons says it is prioritising communications to keep its supply chain working effectively thumbnail

Kate Gibson, MD Gibsons Games, says that during these times, when things are far from business as usual, Gibsons is prioritising communications both with its team and its suppliers to keep the company’s supply chain working effectively. She says the company is also trying to increase production safely in response to the increase in demand for puzzle and games

How are you all? How’s your team’s morale? 

Given the circumstances, the team’s morale is high, and we are all working hard to ensure that things remain as normal as they can be. We’re all lucky enough to be able to work remotely and overall are trying to remain positive by practicing kindness and celebrating the positives, no matter how small they are. And of course, playing games and piecing together puzzles have been a great help!

Are you a company where some staff can comfortably work remotely? 

Yes, we’re lucky to have systems in place where we can all work from home and access our work remotely. We’re making sure that we have daily video calls, regular tea breaks and sharing stories and memes in the Gibsons Gang WhatsApp group! 

What business strategies do you have in place to assist the continual smooth running of your business? 

It is essential that we prioritise communications both with our team and our suppliers, so regular progress meetings are essential to ensure that we can keep our supply chain working effectively, as well as managing the morale of a remote team. We are also ensuring we have effective crisis planning and are considering all ‘what if’ scenarios, since all of this is far from business as usual. 

Do you have any helpful advice or additional support you are offering your retailers? 

Over the last few weeks, we have been encouraging consumers to shop at independent retailers who have their own websites as much as possible. We also have many retailers who are offering a puzzle delivery service to locals, so we have made sure that these contact details are available.

Do you have any additional information or imagery of new ranges you could circulate to retailers to put onto their own websites should their bricks and mortar store have to close? 

We launched our new spring puzzles last week and all the information was available digitally to support this. We always have web imagery available to our customers and continue to encourage them to take full advantage of this.

Have you currently got good stock levels to meet supply demand and the logistics in place to aim for smooth delivery? 

Our stock levels overall are good given the circumstances, however the uplift in demand for puzzles and games at this time of year clearly could not have been foreseen. We are working hard to increase production where possible, but also to ensure that our employees are safe and that fulfilment and response to customer orders is as efficient as possible.  

What’s your online presence and social media set-up like? Do you plan on boosting this presence in the weeks to come? 

We have a dedicated following of jigsaw puzzle and board game fans on our social media platforms, specifically on Facebook, so we have posting every day to boost morale and encourage interaction among fans. Puzzlers love sharing their completed puzzles, so it’s been fantastic to be tagged in so many posts and to interact during a time is lonely for many people. We have also started a #WellnessWednesday puzzleathon event. Every Wednesday between 20:00 and 21:00, we are encouraging all to spend their time puzzling and if share their progress they get the chance to win some puzzles!

How will you continue to drive awareness to your product ranges? 

We will continue to take full advantage of the many digital platforms available to us. LinkedIn, Twitter and email campaigns are a fantastic way to communicate with our retailers, as well as the old-fashion method of picking up the phone! We predominately use social media to interact with our consumer base but will also continue to send out email news blasts to ensure that no one misses out.  

Do you see any opportunities in all of this? 

As I mentioned before, it’s important to celebrate the positives and a huge positive is that everyone is able to slow down and enjoy spending time with their loved ones. It’s been fantastic to see how our games and puzzles have brought people joy during this difficult and confusing time. I hope that this outbreak does encourage people to slow down and spend more time off their screens and enjoying traditional pastimes.  

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