This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 10/02/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.
THE PROTEAN PROJECT
As you are probably aware, we have been very busy behind the scenes since the first UK appearance of COVID-19. Once we had arranged for all but the Logistics team to become homeworkers (within a couple of days), we set about a rolling programme of change and evolution. Key stepping stones have been the transfer of our website to a new platform and the creation of an additional consumer website for homeworkers. We redecorated our main office, complete with a fabulous biophilic image along the whole of the end wall. We have revised all our training to be suitable for in-person or virtual delivery. We have extended our product portfolio and logistics capability to meet the needs of homeworkers, especially the demand for prompt delivery, and we have extended our Partnership Services to meet the changing workplace landscape. We have created a small, full-time marketing team and supported all our homeworkers with appropriate furniture and equipment (as you would expect!), together with a new wellbeing programme.
Now comes the big challenge! Named The Protean Project (after Proteus, the mythological Greek sea god), we have embarked on a full cloud-based integration of all our software systems to streamline our processes, enhance our communications, improve response times and extend transparency. We fully recognise the scale of this endeavour and have arranged for Steve Gilday, our Logistics Manager, to step out of his day-to-day role so that he can focus entirely on the management of this project. It will be some months before the first benefits of this new platform become evident but we look forward to keeping you posted!
The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors was one of the first organisations to hold a very successful virtual conference in 2020. Since that time, its reputation and relevance have been significantly enhanced with papers, research, guidance and events that directly relate to the dramatic and unprecedented changes in our daily lives, whether at work, at home or at the (often blurred) interface between the two.
The 2021 conference on April 19th – 21st provides three days of varied and stimulating content with a global array of speakers addressing many of those changes, including a complete stream entitled ‘Perspectives on the Pandemic: shaping the way ahead’. Find out more and register here.
PRODUCT & COMPONENT SUPPLY & PRICING ISSUES
I want to make you aware that the pandemic is beginning to impact our supply chain and matters are further compounded by Brexit-related import confusion. Manufacturers are now experiencing disruption due to high levels of absenteeism (as high as 20%) as a result of sickness and self-isolation. This is increasing lead times. With regard to Brexit, documentation errors that used to be easily corrected are now being rejected outright and some of our suppliers are having goods turned back. An example of how this can happen was a recent delivery which was delayed when the lorry broke down. A replacement vehicle was sourced promptly but it took 24 hours just to update the documents with the registration number of the alternative vehicle! These issues and more admin are also increasing shipping costs. Some of these rises are significant.
None of the problems are of our making and we are doing everything possible, including adjusting stock levels, to minimise the impact. If you have any particular concerns, our Customer Service team or your account manager will be happy to advise about specific issues.
IIRSM RISK EXCELLENCE AWARDS
As part of our ongoing relationship with IIRSM, we are pleased to encourage nominations for their 2021 Awards, celebrating risk excellence – protecting people, reputation and profits.
Open to members and non-members alike, the awards recognise innovative individuals, teams and organisations who are responsible for implementing best practice in managing risks and opportunities. They are independent and free to enter. Information about the awards, categories and application process can be found here. The application deadline is February 19th, 2021.
If you tried to contact us on Monday February 8th, I apologise for the delayed response but we had a really good reason! (We did provide advanced notice in my last eBulletin, through social media and on our web site). We had closed the business for the whole day to reconnect the team and it proved a very worthwhile exercise. You may know of my obsession with retaining our DNA – what makes us different from our competitors – and I am determined to ensure this does not become diluted. Prolonged homeworking was bound to have had some impact and we also have a number of staff who have joined us since the first lockdown.
We took this opportunity to get everyone together, give them a chance to meet and chat (albeit virtually), split them up into various small groups and let them explore personality traits and human interactions. This was all facilitated by our friends at The Colour Works to great effect. If you would like to know more about what we did and what we plan to do to maintain our DNA, I would be happy to chat.