Virus-free management of customer facilities
When we sign a facility management contract for a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) filling site, our customers entrust us with not just their equipment but their entire basis of business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to take extensive measures – including feeding truck drivers – to ensure that we live up to that trust.
The facility and the machines are our customer’s – but MAKEEN Energy’s people operate, maintain and administrate them. That is the essence of our facility management agreements. So, when the dangerous Coronavirus put much of society to a stop, we had to rapidly find new ways to keep our customers’ businesses running. Let us look at how our American and Indian branches have handled the challenge of living up to our facility management obligations.
Strong strategy meets sudden demand in the US
Our personnel in the US take pride in their ability to refurbish, recertify and fill our customers’ LPG cylinders. Coronavirus turned things upside down. But unlike many other industries, it did not bring their work to a halt – quite the opposite.
Demand for LPG cylinders soared as people spent more time at home. Our staff had to find ways to increase their production while also dealing with a host of new guidelines and precautions.
The sudden and unexpected rise in demand made working from home impossible for many of our American staff. Therefore, plant managers also needed to ensure that everyone could go to work as safely as possible. In order to form a coherent strategy, they worked with 3 focus areas:
- Protect the workforce: They formalised and standardised the procedures that keep staff safe and built their confidence through effective, two-way communication.
- Manage risks to ensure business continuity: They anticipated potential changes and planned for them to allow rapid, fact-based action.
- Drive productivity at a distance: They managed the plant’s performance effectively while physical distancing and remote working policies remained in place.
With these processes in place, they were able to act swiftly and have no downtime at any facilities.
Filling people as well as cylinders in India
In India, our plant managers do not limit their initiatives to employees – They also take care of the truck drivers going in and out of their facilities. Since the country is under lockdown, restaurants and food stalls (known as dhabas) are closed, and truck drivers, therefore, have no or very limited options of buying food during the workday. That is why our Indian colleagues have taken the initiative to provide food packets to them, so they have the energy they need to keep the wheels turning.
In India, as in all our facility management sites around the world, we have implemented a strict regimen of cleaning, distancing and protective measures. Here, no-one enters without clearing a temperature check. Hand sanitiser and hand washing stations are plentiful and all trucks and cylinders are disinfected. Employees also get face masks, face shields and gloves to minimise risk of contamination. And these are just a few of the many steps they have taken to ensure the safety of everyone at the plants.
Challenging times create stronger ties
Working through a crisis together brings people closer, and the same thing has been true in our relationship with the customers whose facilities we manage. Fighting the good fight against COVID-19 together has had the positive side-effect of building deeper relations that will strengthen our cooperation in the future.