Boon Edam USA Covid-19 Update: Protecting Staff with Continued Customer Service
By: Valerie Anderson & Patrick Nora
Edam, the Netherlands, June 2020 – As reports of COVID-19 outbreaks continue to spread across the globe, Boon Edam USA, like other organisations, had to quickly adjust operations to protect the health and safety of staff while maintaining a high level of customer service. March 13th was a “D-Day” for Valerie Anderson, the Managing Director of Boon Edam Inc. and Patrick Nora, the Managing Director of the factory in Lillington, NC.
Both executives had to make the call to keep operations running in a new way. As a company that provides revolving doors and security entrance solutions for essential businesses, together, they decided to: (1) enact teleworking policies for customer service staff and (2) take steps to provide a safe working environment for factory employees.
Patrick explains, “Immediately, Valerie and I prepared an application for official “Essential Business” status from the state of North Carolina. We also reached out to vendors to ensure necessary parts could still be supplied to keep the factory running. So, when NC officials enacted a “stay-at-home” order on Friday, March 27th, we were positioned to continue operations without a hiccup.”
Mastering the Virtual Environment to Connect with Customers
Once it was decided that the customer service team would work remotely, management pushed to ensure their staff had the tools and accessibility resources necessary to perform their job duties from home. In a matter of 24-hours, at-home workstations were set-up and business continued with minimal interruption.
Perhaps the most significant obstacle for a key subset of the customer service team was the cessation of travel. Valerie explains, “While executive management and regional and enterprise sales managers knew that travel had to come to a halt, they were concerned with how they would continue to connect with their customers. The team was accustomed to travelling on a regular basis to meet with customers face-to-face to conduct entry evaluations and better understand their needs at the entry. However, using virtual platforms for holding one-on-one meetings and educational webinars, our sales force is mastering this new way of connecting with clients.”
Creating a Production Environment to Protect Our People
While the customer service staff were able to continue working from home, the production team needed to continue to perform their jobs physically at the NC factory. Factory managers conducted research to build the ideal work environment to ensure the safety of all staff.
Patrick described the new work atmosphere. “Employees received daily training and communication regarding proper handwashing techniques, the importance of social distancing, how to sanitise work areas at the end of each shift, and more. Focus was also placed on granting leniency and sympathy to the factory team as they faced personal impacts of the virus, such as lack of childcare and sick family members.”
Grateful for a Nimble Team
Both Valerie and Patrick continue to be grateful for the nimbleness of their teams during these uncertain times. Employees have taken on challenges with a positive attitude and shown flexibility and teamwork to get their jobs done.
“People have moved around the facility and performed jobs they’ve never done before,” says Patrick. “We’ve implemented policies that, while necessary, have not been comfortable for anyone. The team has worked overtime to ensure on-time delivery to our customers was never threatened. I couldn’t be happier with their efforts.”
Valerie echoes Patrick’s sentiments, seeing this crisis as an opportunity to learn and grow. “Often, the term crisis is associated with a negative event. However, I think when Boon Edam looks back at how we responded to the COVID-19 crisis; we will look at this “crisis” as a time when we got a moment to pause and truly appreciate the structures we had put in place to pivot and adapt to our new way of working while ensuring we did not impact our customer experience.” She continues, “Also, we will look at it as a time when we saw leadership being demonstrated throughout all levels of our organisation. There was no task too big or too small that our staff was not willing to support to ensure that we maintained business continuity, and for that, we are truly grateful.”
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