In the Campania Region, home to thousands of Nigerians, an area in Italy where many Nigerians businesses have thrived over the years, the Coronavirus has had an adverse effect on Nigerian retailers and service providers. The effect is noticeably felt from the low purchasing power of Nigerians who before now were described as high spenders. The hub of clientele of most of the businesses are Nigerians with few exceptions.
In a community where self-reliant has been the watchword, most of the business owners are finding it hard to cope on their own. In the capital Napoli, one Nigerian has however managed through the application of his innovative mind to turn his service oriented business around and put it on the part of success. Mr Emeka Udalla, a haulage guru, whose Elite and Logistics company is famous beyond the Campania Region, isn’t deluded about the devastating blow the pandemic has dealt businesses like his.
“Everything was grounded in the early days of this pandemic, our clients couldn’t come to us and we could not send things to them. There was no business and in the absence of business there is no competition, it is competition that grows business,” Udalla tells AfroLife of those trying days of the pandemic.
With the second wave of the Coronavirus raging in Italy, Udalla cast his mind back in history. “We understand that the world witnessed something like this about a century ago and people came through it. We have enjoyed some peace up till this pandemic. We just have to get around it, life will continue, even though a lot would have changed. For us in business we have to reposition to survive in the unfolding new reality,” he states.
At Elites and Logistics, the new mantra of doing business is relevance. In a post COVID world any business without a semblance of relevance would go into oblivion. Udalla’s awareness of this reality informed his quest to transform or rather situates Elites and Logistics in a position in the service sector that transcends haulage of goods to bridging the gulf COVID created between his clients and their suppliers.
He tells AfroLife in the amidst the pandemic some clients who have deposited certain amount of money with suppliers were unable to receive their goods for one reason or the other. “This is where Elite and Logistics has proved relevant to both parties, we facilitate in establishing contacts because most clients can’t travel here anymore and the suppliers want their full payments before freighting or shipping off their goods. So what we do is helping to establish trust and ensure that both parties meet their obligations to one another. This has paid off for us in this trying times, making our business a reliable partner in times like this.”
Another area Elite and Logistics has applied innovation is in goods freighting and shipping. With the hard times come the desire of clients to cut cost. “We have managed to find away to keep our clients and attracted new ones by means of “groupage” in which we ship goods collectively for a group of client. This has proved cost effective and attractive to our clients.
The global reach fo Elite and Logistics has expanded during this COVID era. As this interview was ongoing a client pops his head in to confirm assurances he received from Elite and Logistics workers in the warehouse area that they ship goods to Mongolia. The client wants to ship a consignment of aprons and shoes to that part of the world. That confirmation he got from the boss himself. Before that a client called all the way from Nigeria to ascertain that the goods she had specific instruction to be shipped to the United States of America had been shipped.
Udalla is certain that business can’t stop because of COVID. “We who have been in business are very optimistic that there will be future for what we do here at Elite and Logistic now and when all this is over. People are slow to change, eventually they are coming to terms with changes we have in place.”