How Boaz Roseman, CEO of A.L. Group and his team are providing innovative solutions for indoor air quality.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined the A.L. Group.
Boaz Roseman: Well, originally I was a farmer and I even hold a degree in agricultural economics. I started my career working on a carrot combine, and every fourth carrot that Israeli citizens ate in the late 1980s passed under my hands. From agriculture, I moved to industry, where I managed a number of global companies with factories in Europe, the USA, South America and China. The latest one was Albaad, which is the largest company in Europe for producing wet wipes as well as the largest private label manufacturer of female hygiene products in the United States.
I joined A.L. GROUP four years ago following the company’s ownership change. Being a true believer in innovation and with the company’s advanced R&D department tied closely to the Israeli scientific community, I saw tremendous potential in bringing exciting new filtration solutions to the market.
How does A.L. Group innovate?
Boaz Roseman: Our world is changing and global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have brought into the limelight one of the world’s greatest health hazards: air pollution. While air pollution, in general, has been a global problem for decades, the focus has shifted significantly in the last couple of years from outdoor to indoor air quality. To be even more specific – indoor air quality within public spaces.
To address changes in the market and provide innovative solutions for indoor air quality, A.L. GROUP created the AVVIR Innovation Division (AVVIR in Hebrew means ‘air’). To make sure we truly focus on innovation, the AVVIR Innovation Division is kept separate from our core business and focuses specifically on indoor air quality. For developing solutions to improve the air quality of public spaces, our rich experience in automotive filtration gives us a huge advantage.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Boaz Roseman: From the beginning of the crisis, the automotive aftermarket, in particular, enjoyed growth in light of the difficulties of automakers and OE suppliers. Since A.L. GROUP is a global company, we have the ability to shift suppliers and production between different factories, such flexibility has proved a valuable asset during lockdowns.
We were slightly affected by the global supply chain crisis but were still able to provide our customers with top-notch service. Like all manufacturers, we navigated the increased cost of raw materials and made some price adjustments in order to maintain a balanced profit margin.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Boaz Roseman: I’m proud to say that not one employee at A.L. GROUP lost their job due to the pandemic. On the contrary, we’ve increasingly begun looking to fill many positions in all our production sites.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Boaz Roseman: This was definitely a challenge. We initially went from visiting customers once a month and discussing new business opportunities, to then bypassing these in-person meetings in order to focus on pandemic crisis management.
In order to maintain our high customer service standard, we utilized all the technological advantages available to us. We switched to web meetings, customized our pitches to remote presentations, and made sure all our teams were adequately prepared to continue servicing our customers even if they were working from home. It was difficult, but the informal communication that was created by this “home office” model strengthened our relationships with customers and benefited our business in the long run.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Boaz Roseman: Yes. All our production sites received local government grants mainly designed to help us retain the workforce. I wouldn’t say it helped massively in keeping the business afloat, but it was definitely beneficial during long lockdowns and the “capsule work model” restrictions.
One grant that I’m especially appreciative of isn’t directly related to the pandemic. Effectively, we received a grant from the Israeli Innovation Authority which recognized one of our inventions as unique technology. I can’t say much about this product yet, but I’m confident it will change the way we all experience indoor air.
Your final thoughts?
Boaz Roseman: COVID is here to stay, and even if it leaves us soon, the world will not be the same. We all have much more awareness around the air we breathe, yet people still need to feel safe and carefree in public places and our aim is to give them just that.
With our technology, the air treatment market is a “blue ocean” and we are planning to expand the activity of AVVIR with new products and unique technologies in the near future.
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