It’s a tense time for all of us. COVID-19 has rapidly changed the way we work, socialize, travel, exercise and shop. One of the things that has struck me, as I‘ve adjusted to communicating with neighbors (at a distance) and friends and colleagues strictly by phone and video conferencing, is everyone’s willingness to help one another, as best we can, given the circumstances.
As a control systems integration company, our priority has always been to support our customers in any way we can. Many are struggling to find the balance between keeping their employees safe and healthy and maintaining (or expanding, for those on the “essential” list) their operations with a reduced staff. As I’ve reached out to my customers with offers of support over the past weeks, I’ve compiled a list of tips I hope you’ll find useful to prepare for possible future disruptions.
• Do you have a plan for restricted access/accessibility to your plant?
– Who decides who can work remotely and who is essential to on-site operations?
– Who has the authority to approve partners for engineering and remote support?
• What is the structure if partners, vendors or suppliers need remote access to your systems?
– Do you have VPN?
– Have you set up credentials and confirmed access for those who’ll need it?
• Are there any devices or processes that you can’t access remotely?
– Do you have the knowledge to support these on-site? What is your backup?
• Do you have quick access to contact info for all your OEM’s, suppliers and partners in the event you need to request support?
– Do you have a backup for the above in the event they don’t have a structure to support an emergency?
These questions establish a game plan when in an emergency situation. If you know how to handle the above, you will be prepared to address the “line down” crisis that can be ill afforded as an essential supplier, or even during normal production.
Reaching out to partners is one component of preparedness that will see us all through this time of crisis. We will get through this if we work together.