21 May 20

Playing a vital role in uncertain times

We are living through an incredibly difficult time at the moment and all aspects of our personal and work lives have changed over a relatively short period.

It has also affected the entire global economy and, as a result, only companies that have defined business continuity strategies and robust supply chains in place have been in a position to deal with the immense challenges posed by this situation. PAC & GDX is one such organisation.

By: Bill Hobbs, VP Global Sales

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Chain of events

As a truly global operation, we have so far been able to anticipate what changes we might need to effect to our manufacturing operations due to on-going changes around the globe. As a result, PAC & GDX was able to begin planning at the earliest possible stage by identifying potential risks and putting measures in place to manage them.

As the components used in PAC & GDX products are purchased well in advance, there have been no changes in quality or availability. In a few cases we had to use second source suppliers – something that was relatively straightforward, as they had all been audited in advance by the company’s global supply chain management team. All suppliers are therefore checked to make sure they comply with strict ethical and operational requirements.

Team work

Our state-of-the-art Exeter manufacturing centre has increased its output to provide medical products such as pagers and temperature monitoring devices to newly built hospitals, as well as maintaining its supply to businesses across Europe. With an unprecedented level of stock inventory at Exeter, our distribution partners have also maximised warehouse capacity to ensure no interruption of product availability. Freight and cross border shipments are being slightly delayed but this is to be expected under the circumstances.

Having our manufacturing operation in Exeter means that the majority of our employees in the plant have been able to carry on working, while complying with the government’s social distancing and safety guidelines. Limiting routes for infection and protecting our employees is the company’s primary concern and precautionary measures like the mandatory wearing of masks and gloves, shift segregation, reduced footfall, visitor screening, extended cleaning protocols and detailed decontamination routines have all been implemented.

Although these conditions are quite different from those they are used to, the manufacturing team has shown tremendous resilience and determination. The team has also been supported by colleagues throughout the organisation and it’s not unusual to see members from other departments ‘mucking in’ and carrying out tasks in the warehouse, for example. This level of positive engagement has been buoyed by the feedback we have received from the NHS and other customers during this tumultuous time.

Learning curve

To enable our customers to keep up to speed with our latest product developments, we have been promoting our online training courses, webinars and videos. These are proving to be highly effective, popular ways of sharing skills and knowledge during lockdown, with excellent levels of attendance for each of our live training sessions during this period.

In order to maintain a business as usual approach, we are continuing to deliver orders, as well as pre- and post-sales support to continue to ensure our security systems keep people, property and assets safe. The use of the cloud in the PAC & GDX solutions means that customers’ systems can be monitored and managed remotely using virtual network computing. This functionality gives technicians the ability to problem-solve, remotely investigate alarms, set and unset systems and/or carry out software maintenance from any location. Likewise, for housing associations that have staff working from home, features such as reporting or live events can highlight any issues and generate an immediate response.

The PAC & GDX team is successfully using remote access and smart technology to provide a reasonable approximation of its normal operation. For example, virtual site surveys are being conducted using FaceTime on a smartphone, while technical support assistance for issues such as wiring detail and GPRS modem set-up are being carried out via video to quickly facilitate the process. The lessons learned from this experience will be used to inform and configure our next generation of remote and automated capabilities.

Positive approach

The last couple of months have been a real test of every organisation’s resilience and ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. It’s a challenge that PAC & GDX is responding to positively thanks to our organisational excellence, robust supply chain and commitment to putting the needs of our customers first.