It can be quite frustrating when you finally decide upon buying a certain pen only to find that it is not just out of stock with your preferred vendor but others as well. Such has been the case for perhaps the last six months for those in the market for a new Pelikan M800 or M1000 for instance. Vendors have consistently been frustrated by estimated delivery schedules that seem to be constantly pushed back. That’s not to say that some models aren’t making it out into circulation. Special editions such as the M600 Tortoiseshell-Red and the M205 Petrol-Marbled have found their way into retail channels and consumer’s hands. As I first reported in August of last year when discussing COVID-19’s impact on Pelikan’s operations, the global supply chain continues to feel the ramifications brought about by the coronavirus pandemic which is still infecting people across the globe. This has hindered Pelikan from receiving certain materials necessary for their manufacturing in a timely manner while also disrupting the company’s ability to deliver its finished goods to their distribution partners effectively. Last year, Pelikan’s Global Marketing Manager for Fine Writing Instruments, Jens Meyer, was optimistic that most issues would be hammered out by the fourth quarter of 2020. In saying that, he also conceded that, for some select products, it might take a little bit longer to end the backlog, particularly with Pelikan’s standard assortment. Since that backlog has now persisted through the first quarter of 2021, I reached back out to see where the company stood. Read on to see just how he responded to that line of questioning.
It was just eight months ago that Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organization to several pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China. To most of us, I’m sure it feels like much longer due to the global saga that has since ensued. We are now all too familiar with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Not since the H1N1 influenza outbreak of 1918 have we seen a pandemic with such far reaching ramifications for everyday life. Countries across the world have taken unique and unprecedented measures to try and stop the spread of the virus. These have varied in severity by location and have met with mixed degrees of success. Actions universally agreed upon to be effective have included social distancing, mask wearing, and hand hygiene. Germany’s government and healthcare system were well positioned to tackle the challenges posed by the virus at the outset but that is not to say they have had it easy. With the fourth largest economy in the world and approximately 11% of its gross domestic product spent on health care, Germany ranks among the top five countries in the European Union for the number of nurses and physicians per 1,000 people. Germany recorded its first case of COVID-19 on January 27, 2020 in Bavaria. By February 27, the total number of cases had climbed to 26. Towards the end of February mass gatherings and travel were increasingly restricted. In mid-March schools started to close and by March 22, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the federal states and national government had jointly decided to implement a “contact ban.” This served to limit public gatherings to two people, required a physical distance of at least 5 feet, and closed many businesses. Today, Germany has reported approximately 224,000 cases and just over 9,000 deaths, a sad reminder of just how infectious and deadly this virus is. The necessary restrictions outlined above along with others have resulted in the pandemic taking a heavy toll on the operations of most businesses, Pelikan’s included. Read on to learn of the disruption that has been caused thus far and what it means for the company’s fine writing instruments division for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.