New shift patterns and IT solutions keep engineering company operating through lockdown

Engineering company Warren Services has introduced new shift patterns and embraced new technology to keep delivering for its customers through the COVID-19 lockdown.

Founder owner Richard Bridgman shares his advice on how to keep staff safe and well-informed.

He said: “My first piece of advice to all companies is be positive rather than looking at why they cannot open, look at how to make it possible.

“From the start we at Warren Services were determined to stay open, we had a full order book. We discussed this with our customers, who told us that they still wanted their work on time and that they would adhere to agreed payment terms.

“So our next challenge was to look at how we work within Government guidelines and how we would keep our employees safe.

“Luckily we have been working hard on 4.0 and fully using IT, so we soon had the majority of the office staff working from home.

“Next, we divided the workforce in half and started two shifts : 6:00am – 2:00pm and 2:15pm – 10:15pm. This allows for all staff to leave before the others come in.

“We have opened all factory doors to make it easier for everyone to get in and out quickly, personal lockers are now spread about the factory or employees are encouraged to come to work in their overalls, bringing only the minimum amount of personal items in.

“Breaks are spread about more throughout the day and some take them in their cars. Social distancing rules always apply throughout the business. We have strict cleaning regimes in all areas and all machines and equipment are wiped down at the end of all shifts.

“We have had to adjust and tweak as we go along and the main thing is to use common sense.”

Keeping employees informed has helped to motivate the Warren Services team and make them aware of all changes.

“Our employees have been exceptional,” said Richard. “Right from the beginning of the outbreak anyone with a temperature, sniffle, cough was sent home and told to isolate for either 7 or 14 days.

“Our employees throughout have been kept fully updated by personal emails, notices and our monthly newsletter, and we are now using Teams, Whatsapp and Zoom a lot more.

“We believe that in future we will continue to have many office staff based at home as we are finding it’s more productive.”

As well as delivering on existing orders, the firm picked up work to produce urgent medical parts, working 24/7 over Easter, and has since completed another urgent order for ventilator parts for a local customer.

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