Managing the COVID-19 shutdown and reopening
Alpin Haus is one of the leading outdoor recreational retailers in the northeast and employs over 200 people across its five locations in the Capital District and downstate NY. Since the first store opened, Alpin Haus has become the place to go for recreational vehicles, snowmobiles, personal watercrafts, ski and snowboard clothing, boats, pools, spas, and patio furniture.
With the Governor’s order to shut down, retail operation had to close the doors. Operations were scaled back to operate with appointment only, curbside pickup, and provide service. April sales were down about 75%. The company is very optimistic business will quickly ramp back up to a higher level than in the past. COVID-19’s initial impact was quickly followed up with a resurgence in business. With summer and eased restrictions, business picked up more than expected. People were tired of being cooped up and are seeing RVing as a great alternative to flying. The new normal will include RV travel for both business and pleasure.
Roughly 25% of the Alpin Haus workforce can work remotely. Primary roles include Accounting, Maintenance managers, Service technicians performing remote support, and Sales. According to Andy Heck, President, Alpin Haus, “We are very fortunate to already have the pieces in place to allow working remotely.”
80% of business information is unstructured*, such as electronic documents. Having a document management system already in place allowed Alpin Haus to work remotely without much disruption. Employees can look up customer information without needing to go to any physical filing cabinet. We forwarded phones and used email/text to keep in contact with customers. A secure (VPN) connection, into the corporate operating systems, protects sensitive data. Because Alpin Haus has remote stores, video was already used for internal meetings and communications. This practice was easily extended to employees working from home.
“The eBizDocs document management solution was a lifesaver for us. Since we were already digitizing the bulk of our paper documents and filing electronic documents into the eBizDocs solution, going remote was easily supported and users had all the information they needed to be productive,” said Heck.
When asked, “What are the top two things you recommend other business do to help in the current crises, and/or be better prepared for the next disaster?” Heck quickly replied:
- Embrace technology to support working remotely by accessing information from outside the store/office. We would have really struggled if we did not have our document management solution in place.
- Use video technology to remain connected to customers and employees. Our daily senior management meetings, and weekly divisional meeting kept everyone up to date and connected to each other. Even furloughed employees participated in video sessions just to keep in touch.
Many of the changes Alpin Haus made in doing business because of the COVID-19 crisis improved overall employee and customer satisfaction. Texting, Facetime, Facebook, and curbside pickup are all new business tools they will be reviewing as new methods for an on ongoing basis. Expect the whole idea of traveling to conferences, training, and other events, to be replaced with remote enabling solutions.
Andy and his team made this short video thanking its customers.
eBizDocs is a premier digital transformation provider focused on helping you put INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. Offerings include paper and microfilm conversion, content capture and document management solutions, scanner sales and service, and process consultation. eBizDocs is SOC2 Type II certified and serves private and public-sector organizations. The company has been in business for over 20 years and is a preferred source contractor for NYS entities. To learn how eBizDocs can help transform your operation, visit eBizDocs.com