We talked to Marcin Ciącio of Collectomate about workplace logistics, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marcin Ciącio: For starters, we are all healthy, and that seems to be the most important thing currently. We support ourselves and try to be as positive as possible. Thankfully, we can work from home, which allows us to social distance and strengthens bonds within our family.
As for my second family, meaning the Collectomate team, recent times have been a great testimony of how well we fit and complement each other. Moreover, our relations go well beyond just doing business together. Thanks to that, we can count on each other’s support – both professionally and privately.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Collectomate.
Marcin Ciącio: I guess that I should start by saying that I was extremely lucky. I started working as soon as I became a college student, and from the very beginning, I had the privilege to work for some big and well-organized companies. Maybe that itself wasn’t just luck because I applied to those companies. However, I think that finding true mentors in my superiors can be attributed to a certain amount of being lucky. I worked hard and learned as much as I could. While doing so, not only did I want to “climb the ladder,” but also, I wanted to prepare myself for the next step, which was creating my own business. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize how naïve this dream to run my own company was. I mean that in dreams, you only tend to focus on the bright colors and – most of the time – disregard the grey and dark. Even though I am a bit wiser now than I was back then, I still perceive that decision to be a good one.
When talking about “the early days,” once again, luck has to be mentioned. I was lucky enough to have a few great friends who gathered vast experience while on their own professional journeys. We talked, we planned, we dreamt, and then we decided; we are starting a company.
How does Collectomate innovate?
Marcin Ciącio: I will try to keep it as straight forward as possible. To put it bluntly, Collectomate uses IoT to pass on items, documents, and shipments within office space. With a calculated risk of becoming monotheistic, once again, I have to mention luck. Because our service was engineered in such a way that it limits contact and allows for social distance, it fits perfectly in current, disturbing times. The way Collectomate enhances the flow of documents and items while keeping everybody safe during that process fits perfectly with our clients’ current demands.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Marcin Ciącio: Well, it affected us in numerous ways. First of all, we quickly switched to home office work mostly. Moreover, we have introduced some internal regulations. For example, we are not sharing one car even if we attend the same meeting. If we have to visit the office, we make sure that it is done on hybrid rules, meaning that we do not share time in the same office space. If we want to pass anything to the members of our own team, we just use our Collectomate 😉 All those new rules have one thing in mind – we want to stay healthy and be operational. So far, we are succeeding in that.
What is more, the pandemic also forced us to work even harder than before (and believe me – we already worked pretty hard). Current times are connected not only with higher client demand for our services, but it also encourages us to constantly work on our product to match the demands of the market. For example, not so long ago, we have introduced a brand new feature – shipment quarantine. Now, our clients, thanks to that option, can decide that every shipment “from the outside world” has to be in the Collectomate for no less than 48 hours, prior to it being taken out. Introducing this feature was a direct effect on our constant dialogue with current and potential clients. It is them who suggested that; we just made it happen.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marcin Ciącio: Isn’t that – difficult choices – what running a business is all about? 😉 In all seriousness, of course, we had to make them. Accepting backlog is never easy, but you have to remind yourself that your health is much more important than a “clean” to-do-list.
As far as lessons go, I learnt that the Collectomate team is just perfect for hard times. I could not be happier with how all people who make Collectomate a reality responded to this unusual situation and how they delivered. Trust me; this is a very important lesson for a CEO to be sure that you have the right group of people that do not bend under pressure and are willing to go the extra mile, just to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible, even though, the road that is all on, is ridiculously bumpy.
The above can be described as a professional lesson. A more private lesson is the one connected with relationships. I was always a man who cherished relationships and really enjoyed personal, direct contact with others. This pandemic, and its consequences, really allowed me to realize how much I appreciate the chance to speak directly to somebody and feel their energy in the room.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Marcin Ciącio: Well, this is a fairly easy question for me. What helps me deal with my current stressful situation is my family, home, and physical activity. The latter has been obviously limited due to the situation. However, I still run and do yoga. Hopefully, sooner than later, I will also be able to go back to swimming, which I was getting fairly good at in months prior to the pandemic.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marcin Ciącio: Taking into account all of the features provided by Collectomate, I can honestly say that our product is quite unique in the Polish market. However, we do respect and keep a close eye on companies who provide partially similar solutions to the once offered by Collectomate. Nevertheless, our mentality is that we do not want to just “keep up,” but rather to be the pacemaker. We d so by constantly developing new features and adjusting to the ever-changing environment.
Your final thoughts?
Marcin Ciącio: In times where there is a clear deficit of positive news, I would just like to say that things will be normal again. Until that time, stay safe, stay healthy, and support each other.
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