ECCO’s Flooding Experience for Breakfast

Last year 2011 was a devastating experience for a lot of people in Thailand who suffered through damages the flooding has caused. One of them who suffered a big loss was Danish shoe giant ECCO, even though the company announce the best sales in history for 2011, the disaster affected 35 % of ECCO’s global production.

On September 25th, 2012, ECCO’s Logistics Director, Mr. René Jessen decided to share their story on how they experienced the flooding followed by presentations from Mr. Marcel Wismer, AquaFence and Mr. Tjeerd Driessen, Royal HaskoningDHV who went into details regarding protective measures that can be taken to combat the challenges in connection with the flooding and flood risks.

Before the presentations, the 72 attendants were treated with a impressive breakfast buffet at Grand Millennium in Bangkok. The guests were welcomed by Executive Director of Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Savija Pannark Korslund.

To start with, Mr. René Jessen provided the attendants with valuable insights into the critical situation ECCO was facing when its factory and leather tannery in Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate, Ayutthaya, suffered catastrophic damage from the devastating flooding last year. The situation had a severe impact on the company and various stakeholders. Hence, ECCO was forced to take extraordinary measures to handle the situation in the best possible manner. As an example, ECCO provided salary to its employees, despite the temporarily close-down of the factory, in a move to avoid losing its valuable and experienced staff. On a business note, the company was meeting an extensive global demand and by re-allocating the production to other countries and with hard work, ECCO still managed to get the planned products on the market at the right time. Finally, Mr. René Jessen encouraged other companies to create a contingency plan in order to be able to protect themselves from such critical damages caused by natural disasters.

Thereafter, Mr. Marcel Wismer emphasized the importance of acknowledging the fact that flooding cannot be avoided. In contrast, it is a question of creating a proper strategy for protection as a company. Mr. Marcel Wismer recently started the Norwegian company, AquaFence, because he realized that the flood protection industry was relatively underdeveloped.

According to Mr. Tjeerd Driessen, every company has to consider questions such as where their factories should be protected, how high the level of protection ought to be, and which specific solution best match the company’s need for protection and, finally, discuss how the investment can be justified.

The information provided by the speakers encouraged a brief debate with a focus on the role of the Thai government on these matters. President of Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Peter Romhild stressed that the business environment in Thailand could not afford a similar situation as the one caused by the flooding in 2011, hence, a need of action from the government persists.

Afterwards, Executive Director of Netherlands-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Bert Cesar thanked the speakers and guests for joining and Ms. Savija Pannark Korslund handed over a gift for each speaker, namely a Rocking Glass by Norman Copenhagen.

The Joint Chambers’ Breakfast Seminar was presented in collaboration between Belgian-Luxembourg/Thai Chamber of Commerce, Netherlands-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Singapore-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai-Finnish Chamber of Commerce, Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce.

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