Q: You have recently joined Signify, world leader in lighting solutions, as CEO for Romania and SEE, right in the middle of the “pandemic storm”. How did you find the company, how was 2020 regarding its evolution and what are your objectives for the end of this year?
R.C. I have joined Signify in a period when important milestones were achieved within the company: on this September Signify achieved carbon neutrality and set course to double its positive impact on the environment and society. More than that, Signify adapted extremely fast to this new reality and came up with efficient solutions to meet growing disinfection demand with investments in UVC lamps. So, 2020 was a year full of achievements for the company. For the following period my objective is the continuous growing of the business, both strategically and operationally, as well as maintaining the company's position as THE industry leader in the field of IoT and Industry 4.0, and of course, introducing new innovative solutions to all 11 markets of the South Eastern Europe. I am truly convinced that, as light becomes a new intelligent language, we will redefine what light can do and how people could use it in new ways, undeveloped so far.
Q: What has been the impact of the corona-crisis over the lighting industry? What segments were most affected and which ones, if any, thrived during this period?
R.C. The lighting industry has been definitely affected by the corona crisis, but only on certain segments: retail and hospitality have been most affected by this pandemic as they put on hold all investments, including the ones that involved new lighting systems. The same in the case of office buildings – as most employees started to work from home, the investment were put temporary on hold. The Consumers products market remained at the same level as before, but we managed to still grow in this segment by gaining more market share due to investments in e-commerce and online channels. Our smart home system – Philips Hue – had the biggest growth. Another segment that is growing is the segment of public lighting as European funds were allocated before the pandemic started.
Q: As a leader in innovation, which are the market challenges that Signify faces in the most creative way, placing the company among the best in its field of activity?
R.C. Signify is leading the technological revolution in lighting systems in both professional and consumer markets, while continues to innovate and develop sustainable solutions. Our position as the industry leader in connected lighting, makes Signify the lighting company for the Internet of Things (IoT).Our energy efficient lighting products, systems and services enable our customers to enjoy a superior quality of light, and make people’s lives safer and more comfortable, and businesses more productive and cities more livable.Also, bringing the IoT architecture inside our systems, and connecting to a cloud-based data system – Interact – brings the lighting systems into a full integration with all the rest of the Smart AI solutions.As a really innovative solution we can talk about Trulifi, a solution provided by Signify which I am sure will gain more and more interest in the nearest future. Trulifi means Internet through light – to be more specific, a lighting appliance can provide Internet when you are nearby. The main advantages of this solution is that it is reliable, fast and secure.
Q: Signify has numerous and various innovative solutions for different industries to increase productivity, sustainability, or even safety, using light. Did the sanitary crisis reveal new opportunities for further developments?
R.C. Over the past 35 years we’ve developed strong UV-C application expertise. It has allowed us to develop a broad range of effective UV-C lamps, luminaires, devices, control systems and services. These can be used in a variety of air, surface, object and water disinfection applications.Definitely – the latest development in this direction was to create UVC disinfection device series that allows for the disinfection of the air in a closed space, while ensuring that day-to-day business or private activities can continue underneath the area where the device is active. This is a very important achievement as it can bring major changes in the way this pandemic will evolve – bringing this kind of devices in public transport, supermarkets or other public places could reduce dramatically the spread of this virus.
Q: Which are the top 5 priorities on your CEO agenda today? Did this pandemic crisis shift your business strategy or priorities in any way?
R.C. The top priorities are of course oriented to the safety of our employees and to improving people lives during these difficult times by offering them smart solutions like UV-C disinfection devices, or Hue home light control systems.Another big priority is smart city. And smart cities mean not only smart buildings, but also smart outdoor which would be of course energy efficient but could also have a great contribution to the safety of streets and other public areas. I will name one more, very close to my heart, which is bringing to light all the important architectural monuments across Romania.
Q: We are crossing a period full of challenges and changes. How do you prepare for a permanent shift in working relationships? How did remote work impact your activity and how do you see this evolution?
R.C. We were forced to adapt rapidly to this new reality and the only thing we can do is learning to live with it as long as it is necessary. On the other hand, for our business it means, of course, that we have to see what changes happened in the life of our clients and how we can adapt to their needs. In times like these, we must act quickly and make the best of it. On a personal level, like for most of my colleagues, I had to adapt and try to be as productive possible, but also help the team achieving their best results.
Q: From your experience, what’s your „Focus on ... “advice for the managers of local companies during this challenged period?
R.C. My advice for the managers of local companies would be to adapt and keep going no matter what, to identify the market needs and reinvent their services or products if necessary.
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