Part of the extensive national economic recovery plan “Neistart Lëtzebuerg” presented last spring, the Fit 4 Resilience programme is a central element of the mechanisms put in place by the government to support companies directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Initiated by the Ministry of the Economy and developed and managed by the national innovation agency, Luxinnovation, the programme targets organisations of all sizes (from small craft SMEs to large industrial groups) significantly impacted by the COVID pandemic.
It consists of the elaboration of a roadmap and a list of actions to be implemented, with the help of an approved consultant. It thus helps companies establish longer-term development strategies, in which particular attention is paid to digitalisation and sustainability.
This approach is based, in particular, on the identification of the reasons – internal and external – that have brought the companies to where they are now, and on an in-depth analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.
The exercise has the dual interest of helping them overcome this difficult period, and to project themselves into the future by finding ways to reinvent themselves.
Brasserie Nationale challenged itself…
Some companies have already completed this strategic exercise of introspection and projection. This is the case, for example, of Brasserie Nationale (owner of the Bofferding and Battin beer brands and the Lodyss mineral water), one of the jewels in the crown of the Luxembourg industry, which has been hard hit by the confinement measures and the closing of bars and restaurants. The estimated impact on turnover is of more than €20 million, i.e. 25% of total turnover.
“The storm we are going through is a catalyst that has forced us to question ourselves,” explains Frédéric de Radiguès, general manager of Brasserie Nationale. “The Fit 4 Resilience programme has enabled us to identify highly innovative levers for better efficiency.”
Three major projects have been defined: better use of waste water (up to 70% reuse); increased digitalisation of the relationship between the brewery and its customers; and the optimisation of production lines in order to reduce stocks and improve product rotation.
Brasserie Nationale is now planning to submit a request for financial aid to the Ministry of the Economy under the new aid scheme for investment projects in the COVID-19 era, which came into force this summer.
… and Instaltec came out stronger
Instaltec, a craft SME specialising in alternative energies, sanitary equipment, heating and ventilation, has found the opportunity to emerge stronger from the crisis through its participation in this strategic programme.
“We have taken advantage of the period of imposed confinement to think about a better way of organising ourselves,” says Marcel Frick, Managing Director of Instaltec. “The Fit 4 Resilience programme has shown us how to make our organisation more digital.”
For example, the company has acquired new computer software, which has enabled it to improve both its internal management and the quality of its customer relations.
“A thorough market analysis also made us realise that we needed to focus more on individual customers who really need our services,” explains Mr Frick, who in 2004 took over from his father at the head of the company he founded in 1976.