China Manufacturing Update: Boon Edam Beijing Factory is Open and Operating in New Ways as the Coronavirus Pandemic Appears to be Slowing in China
Edam, the Netherlands, May 2020 – Our colleagues at Boon Edam in China share an update on what happened as news of the Coronavirus started to emerge in the country, their journey through the dark days of the height of the pandemic; up to how things are going for them all today.
The Start of Another Pandemic
Back in January 2020, Boon Edam in China was working as normal, although the Chinese population had already been advised to go to the hospital if they had a fever with a cough, and facial mask wearing was strongly advised. Then the Chinese government informed the people of China to work from home for the first two weeks of February, and of course, our colleagues complied. Our workforce who could work from home, did, and meetings were conducted via online platforms.
Rita Fei, Managing Director, Shared Service Center of Boon Edam in China, said, “Nobody here was surprised to hear we needed to work at home, as since late January we were getting hourly updates on the virus situation via all our television channels”.
From mid February, staff began to slowly return to their work at the office, with a lot of flexibility and understanding given for colleagues with children – the children were not back at school at this stage. Face masks were not easy to get hold of at this time either but with the help of 1000pcs from Royal Boon Edam International, sent over from the Netherlands, and placing an urgent order themselves, the safety situation was quickly resolved. Masks and other health and safety equipment are currently a lot easier to obtain.
Rita shared a bit more about her experiences, also having been through SARS back in 2003. “During SARS, cities were not asked to lockdown. Factories and public places remained open and functional. Despite having experienced a past pandemic, Boon Edam in China was not prepared or equipped for COVID-19. As a leader of a large organisation, we had to react really quickly. We promptly stopped serving food from our canteen and asked everyone to bring lunch from their homes. We took the advice from our government very seriously and made sure we complied to the given guidelines such as social distancing and the wearing of face masks at all times – not always easy when working hard.”
Health and Safety Measures
Temperature testing on arrival at work, and the wearing of face masks by both office and factory staff remains a key compliance and safety measure. These measures have been well received by all our colleagues and everyone has now really got into this as part of a normal working routine. The factory is working in carefully planned shifts to limit the number of people on-site and to reduce the amount of movement which is required to perform tasks.
Jack Guo, Director of Manufacturing, told us that daily meetings were taking place covering the planning and monitoring of the health of all staff. Jack said that the orders are continuing to come into the factory, but that the supply chain had taken a hard knock, resulting in some delays. He has, however, already started to notice that as more factories reopen, the supplies and capacities are starting to ramp-up once more.
Managing Director, Richard Wu said. “We organised regular management meetings during the lock down period to collect the insights from all our employees, in order to keep everyone safe and strong - physically and mentally. Meanwhile, we also kept a close eye on the news to capture and tweak our business management, and stay proactive."
Service, Maintenance and Installations
This area of Boon Edam in China has been heavily impacted due to travel constraints. Project installation teams were not allowed to travel due to the lockdown, and all job sites were shut down until early March 2020.
Richard Wu, Managing Director - Sales Ops of Boon Edam in China said, “We provided a two-month service contract extension to some of our hotel customers to help them get through the large losses during the lockdown. By early March, most cities in China were starting to gradually recover, and installation teams have been approaching customers proactively and quickly to help them become fully operational again. We have gone above and beyond what is expected to ensure safe and functional entrances for our customers all over China.”
Making Lockdown Work
Our Chinese colleagues have had regular contact with all of their customers during the course of the pandemic. They have been using mobile phones and holding online meetings more regularly, and online seminars with customers have been great way stay connected. We can happily report that both sides have adapted well to this new way of working.
Richard tells us, “During the lockdown period, we invested more resources on online knowledge trainings and on internal process standardisation. This has really benefited our entire team as we make the best of this period to improve our overall efficiency. All these investments have already started to bring returns back to our daily operations - now after the lockdown gradually fades away. All of these online meetings and knowledge sharing get all of us connected more tightly, and we appreciate the encouragement from each other in this difficult period.”
As for the near future, Richard continues, “We have intensified the communications with all our customers to offer our best expertise to expedite their project progress, because all of them are carrying huge capital burden in real estate investment. This action has incurred their great confidence and appreciation on BOON EDAM from our customers."
Our colleagues at Boon Edam China have returned the goodwill gestures from earlier, and have already shipped 3000 face masks to the Netherlands factory in March and 3000 to the American factory in April. We wish them strength as they continue to recover daily.
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