By David Nakayama, DET Corp Comms
Bangkok, Thailand, April 16, 2020 – The COVID-19 crisis sweeping the world now is fundamentally changing the way we live and work. Coming out of a crippling year that many of us manufacturers in would rather forget, the timing for a global pandemic couldn’t have been worse.
So how can we survive the double whammy of the US-China trade war and COVID-19, and emerge with the strength to rebuild our battered nation together? Let’s look at some of the challenges we’re facing today and some ways you can protect your people and production.
The Siam Commercial Bank reports that Thailand is experiencing supply chain disruptions because of factory closures and transportation restrictions. The problem is even worse for manufacturers with a high reliance on intermediate goods from other markets hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, including China, Japan, and South Korea.
Yet with the lives of citizens at risk, governments around the world are seeing the need to save their domestic manufacturers and bolster the ability for them to both develop and produce critical medical supplies and infrastructure at home.
On April 16, the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) approved a raft of measures including steps to encourage rapid investment in medical equipment manufacturing along with support for R&D and for the modification or transformation of existing production lines to increase domestic medical supplies availability.
Organizing your command
Protecting people is always the number one priority for manufacturing leaders facing crisis. Whether you’re a small factory or a manufacturer with nationwide operations, you need to get together fast to decide how and when to act, before things spiral out of control.
Right at the onset of COVID-19 outbreak, Delta Group set up a Global COVID-19 Response Command Center and Delta Thailand management established a COVID -19 Task Force to ensure employee safety and immediately act to control the epidemic while safeguarding critical operations.
Delta Thailand’s COVID-19 Task Force included executive management and the Safety, HR and Corporate Communications departments. This central command liaised with the government and the Delta Group corporate global response center to form the best preventative company policy, actions and communications at all our Thailand locations.
Setting high standards
As a Thai-based company, we follow all related Thai government regulations including guidelines from the Thailand Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health. Delta Thailand took it a step further by implementing even stricter COVID-19 risk country classifications and actions than in the local mandatory regulations.
The rigorous company standard, based on information from international health organizations and the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, formed a basis for all our COVID-19 risk classification, travel reporting and entry control of every person at all company premises. Our company learned from the effective control and reporting procedures implemented in Taiwan to form our own strict self-quarantine procedures for employees.
Going into action
With the standards in place, the Safety and Facility departments immediately controlled the entry points into our factories and setup equipment and procedures to measure the body temperatures and report recent travel history of every person entering. Hand sanitizer stations and herbal drinks are also available throughout the company to keep everyone healthy and comfortable.
To reduce crowding and implement better social distancing among employees, the Safety and HR departments worked with Production managers to reschedule break times and on/off times for shifts. Meanwhile, all departments who could work remotely implemented work-from-home for employees.
Delta Thailand beefed-up personal protection in the company canteen by separating all tables and placing dividers to shield each individual diner. Cleaning staff did extra disinfection of high-traffic areas and specialists did disinfectant fogging during non-business hours.
In times of crisis, people want to know what you’re doing about it and how it’ll affect them. From the beginning, we setup a COVID-19 notification center on our company website and began unified communications to internal and external stakeholders via email, mobile message and offline notices.
To follow up, sales and product managers in each business unit provided detailed production and logistics updates to their customers which are specific to their situation. The Corporate Communications and HR departments provided employees with educational pamphlets and displayed information on company display screens, signs and notice boards.
Having a backup plan
The highly unpredictable nature of the pandemic means we can only hope for the best and prepare well for the worst. The Safety department stocked up and monitored safety and prevention equipment and supplies like alcohol-based hand sanitizer, disinfectant, personal protective equipment, thermometers and first aid gear.
Meanwhile, the Safety and HR departments simulated and created contingencies for any cases of infection. Executive management and all departments also have to create a unified plan for extended disruptions to business operations including national lockdowns and curfews.
Putting people before profit
On April 13, Delta Thailand donated 10,500 of its original high-efficiency DC brushless blowers to the Board of Investment (BOI) and the Thai government to support the domestic development and production of a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Thailand’s frontline COVID-19 medical personnel.
Besides producing DC blowers for Thailand’s domestic PPEs, we installed and maintain Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) solutions to back up critical operations at over 50 key hospitals in the country. Meanwhile, power supplies produced in our factories power the data centers of the world’s top tech companies to keep the world connected throughout COVID-19 lockdowns.
And with the health and livelihood of around 12,000 employees in Thailand at stake, we called on the Delta Group to leverage our international production network and original Delta industrial automation solutions which supply us with protective face masks. This enables us to distribute hundreds of thousands of pieces per month, giving each employee a new face mask every morning.
Emerging stronger together
While we’re not out of the woods yet, we hope to gain valuable learnings from this crisis and we’re now working closely with the government and our partners to share our experiences so we can all be better prepared for future emergencies in Thailand.
Ultimately, many of us manufacturers are here because we want make things to help people and now we’re stepping up in our own ways to save Thailand from COVID-19. So why don’t we connect today to discover even better ways to help save lives and create solutions for more sustainable businesses and a healthy society in Thailand?
About the Author (Editorial Team)
If content is king, there must be a kingmaker. And the universal theme in my favorite stories is our innate human desire for freedom. I have a master’s degree in Chinese education and experience spanning industries and countries. As the Comms guy at DET, I’m obsessed with the stories behind our products and people. Share your stories with me @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/