In the 22 years since One World Express was founded, the business has had to overcome many challenges. The dotcom boom (and burst), the 2008 global finance crisis, and Brexit; to name but a few.
But the coronavirus pandemic has presented an entirely new set of circumstances that we have had to adapt to. But adapt we have, and as lockdown measures are relaxed and something resembling normality returns to our lives, we wanted to take this opportunity to review how the One World Express team has responded to this unique crisis, as well as provide an outlook on what the future has in store.
In the early months of the year, when we all watched the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK climb at an ever-increasing rate, all thoughts rightly turned to matters of health and safety. As a logistics firm, where the movement of people and goods is our bread and butter, ensuring we protected staff and customers was our utmost priority.
One World Express has more than 50 employees – they work in offices, warehouses and out on the road.
Firstly, we made the transition to remote working as quickly as possible. All office-based team members were given the support required to perform their jobs from home, including IT setup and remote access to our systems via a secure VPN.
Daily internal communications take place via video conferencing and instant messaging. Importantly, conversations between staff is not limited to “business talk”; often we speak just to ensure everyone is in a positive state of mind and feeling supported even when teams are physically apart.
Understanding the mental and emotional strain of remote working on a full-time basis has been just as important – if not more important – than practical business matters.
Continuing “business as normal”?
It is perhaps foolish to pretend that any firm can continue “business as normal” through a global pandemic. But that is not to say operations can afford to grind to a halt.
During the lockdown period, consumers became increasing reliant on eCommerce and home deliveries for all manner of goods. It placed significant strain on supply chains and logistics networks; One World Express needed to respond to this and ensure clients could still get their goods from A to B.
Our first job was to protect our employees in the warehouses and delivery vans. We reduced the number of people working in our warehouse facilities, ensuring social distancing measures could be strictly adhered to. And PPE was invested in and distributed to any employees working on site.
Posters encouraging handwashing, sanitiser stations and regular deep cleans of all workplaces were quickly implemented. The layout of workstations was changed to ensure all people could be seated two metres apart. All staff were updated with Public Health England guidelines and notifications.
Driver shifts were also changed to prevent overlap. Again, cleaning could be carried out between shifts to protect staff at all times.
These measures and the communication of them helped to make sure staff felt protected. It also ensured work could continue – not quite as normal – and therefore our clients could still rely on us as their shipping and logistics partners.
Communicating with clients
At the same time of taking care of internal matters, One World Express needed to speak with its clients. We needed to reassure them of the measures we were taking and provide support to businesses during this challenging period.
We re-doubled our customer support efforts. We have gone to great lengths in our communication with clients to show them that we are open for business and here to help. From emails and phone calls to IT support and consultancy advice, we’ve provided a suite of services to suit all the businesses we work with.
Further to this, from April to June 2020 we waived all of our regular consultancy fees. In recognition of the unprecedented times we were going through, we wanted to offer our experience and expertise to clients (and non-clients) so they could navigate the choppy waters from a shipping and logistics perspective.
Looking to the months ahead
While the coming weeks and months will undoubtedly present more hurdles for all businesses to overcome, it is important to look back on 2020 so far and take pride in what each company has done during such a testing time.
Like many businesses, we’ve had to adapt to this strange, difficult period. But we are pleased by the responsible approach that has been taken throughout – from caring for the mental wellbeing of team members through to protecting on-site staff and offering increased support to clients, the business has done its utmost to respond positively to the situation.
Going into the final five months of the year, we have every confidence that business activity will continue on the upward trend we’ve witnessed over the past two months. Importantly, we will not allow complacency to set in; we will remain alert to challenges and risks as they present themselves, ensuring a pragmatic and prompt response is taken at every step of the way.