HN spoke to Michel Bayoud, president, CEO Boecker World Holding to highlight the company’s important role in such a global crisis.
- How can a leading company such as yours face such an outbreak?
For the last 15 years Boecker has been building its capacities in germ control and biosecurity. We have offered our services of germ control to the most demanding sectors including aviation, ground transport, military, lodging and hospitality, as well as childcare and in homes. Up till now, this was a highly specialized niche business that is very science-intensive and Boecker has built an exceptional infrastructure to provide world class response to all types of biosecurity threats including the new 2019-nCoV now known as the Coronavirus causing the (COVID-19) disease.
- How do you evaluate the way the Lebanese government and institutions handled this crisis? On both levels, planning and execution?
I think that all governments around the world were caught by surprise due to the dynamic nature of this virus and it’s ever changing prognosis. Today, I don’t believe that Lebanon is far from any other country in its measures. What is important is for the people to adhere to the basics in self and cross protection because the real fear is not just catching the virus, it is making sure we have enough medical capacity to treat the infected.
- What about the countries in the region?
Different counties are taking different measures but they all revolve around the same principles; Governments should be very transparent and encourage testing and early detection as well as enforcing distancing and minimal movement of people.
- Do you think the private sector in Lebanon was ready to face such a crisis, hygiene wise?
Definitely not, because the private sector has been waging another bleeding war for a long time now with the bad economy, the capital control and the devaluation of the local currency leave alone the scarcity of raw material, resources and of course the influx of tourists and investors … Hygiene wise Boecker, was from the first to respond ensuring more than 60 tons of sanitizers and disinfectants in the first 10 days of the crisis.
- Do you believe your industry will be impacted forever after this outbreak?
I believe that it will be positively impacted by people understanding the importance of germ control as part of protecting their day to day lives. What worries me is the amount of communities that think they are disinfecting in their towns and villages but using sub standard products and methodologies. When this storm finishes a lot of the mistakes being done today will surface and the market will respond.
- How much do you believe your business will grow?
Around 10-12 percent
- How do you see competition in this market in Lebanon and in the region?
There is no competition; there are copy cats that we are seeing emerging everyday. How can you trust someone to protect you against a deadly virus who has learned the profession in the last 3 weeks ! The same in the region where Dubai alone has seen 860 companies apply for licenses in disinfecting … this is abnormal and completely unhealthy. You can not deal with people’s lives and health so lightly.
- Does such a crisis require more concerns about hygiene in the future and pushes companies to build a proper infection or contagion strategy?
Infection control is not new in the world and that is why it has always been one of Boecker’s core services for such a long time. Unfortunately in our part of the world we prefer to correct rather than prevent and this explains this abnormal growth that will certainly subside soon.
- What advice do you offer to private and public sector entities?
For the private sector: start thinking of the day after. What will you do when this will end – and it will end in the coming weeks – how will you reboot yourself and your sectors amidst the new world, new world economy and the collapse of global markets. For the public sector: Leave the private sector alone and they will do wonders.Add to Favorites