We talked to Alex Harel of EZPack Water about providing a solution for water supply in water crisis events when the grid water system is not working, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Alex Harel: We are doing well; however, it is a very unusual time. Here in Israel, we are under lock-up, and most of our time is spent at home. Fortunately, we have been vaccinated, but we still need to adjust to living with the COVID virus.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded EZPack Water.
Alex Harel: I have served for 21 years in active service (and additional 14 years in active reserve) in the Israeli Air-Force as a fighter navigator. I retired as Lt. Colonel, and since 1992 I am involved in the Israel high-tech industry; founded and managed several start-ups. I joined a friend when he founded EZPack Water, and I am the CEO since 2010.
How does EZPack Water innovate?
Alex Harel: EZPack products are in the water market. The company was founded following the requirements of the Israeli water Authority to provide a solution for water supply in water crisis events when the grid water system is not working. We developed our proprietary 2-layers bladder technology, and since then, we continue developing new products to answer various market problems. We are 3 partners that together we brainstorm whenever there is a customer requirement or when we realize there is an un-answered problem in the market.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Alex Harel: Several major projects that were scheduled for 2020 have been delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis. This obviously caused a significant change in the work-plan and especially in the cash-flow. However, we have been able to develop alternative business opportunities that enabled us to compensate for the delayed/lost projects.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Alex Harel: I think the main lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is that you must keep your head open to drastic changes and be flexible enough to understand that you need to change the way you are operating and respond to the challenge.
The main challenge was (and still is) how to operate an international business when it is impossible to travel and see the customers and partners and when it is almost impossible to personally meet the team. We had to develop new communication and remote operating skills, and I must say it shows us that even with major changes like those imposed by the COVID-19 crisis, things can be done if you are open and adapt quickly.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Alex Harel: We are extensively using video conferencing tools and file and data sharing tools.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Alex Harel: The way we believe will enable us to stay in the game is to be able to communicate with customers, partners, and suppliers without being able to meet in person, being able to be responsive as your clients expect you to be, being able to train customers remotely, and being able to troubleshoot and provide support remotely. This forced us to develop tools that will enable us to continue providing our clients the quality they expect.
Your final thoughts?
Alex Harel: It sure is an incredibly challenging time. The COVID-19 crisis is staying with us for the next 1-2 years, and if we want to survive and grow, we need to adapt ourselves quickly to the new conditions and restrictions.