Happily, Ryder Industries has been up and running since 4th February.
During this extraordinarily difficult time, we have received so many questions and messages about Ryder’s rapid response to the Coronavirus. Now that so many of our customers, colleagues and friends across the world are facing the same challenges, we have decided to share our experiences.
Ryder prides itself on its meticulous approach to high quality manufacturing and engineering. Since its inception more than 40 years ago, Ryder has focused on continuous improvement, not only in its manufacturing, but also in the care that it takes to protect its most valued resource – its employees. One of our mottos is “Together, we make it.” For the Ryder team, this motto has never felt more alive than in the face of a threat like COVID-19.
The pandemic began when most of Ryder’s people were at home with their families for the Chinese New Year holiday. Ryder’s executive team knew that the process of returning everyone to work would have to be executed with precision and care, or people would fall ill.
Day 1 – the Pandemic Struck – Ryder’s CEO, Henry Wu, leads Ryder’s epidemic emergency team. As the news broke, he established his control centre in our Shenzhen plant “After we organized our emergency team on 24th January,” he explained, “We quickly established the company’s prevention mechanism, which we subdivided into sanitation and cleaning teams, information teams, procurement teams, and employee care teams to carry out specific tasks.” This team promptly procured supplies, including 70,000 face masks, alerted staff, and contacted government officials for guidance and coordination.
The Quarantine – Our Shenzhen plant faced an enormous challenge. 700 of Ryder’s 1200 employees had travelled far and wide to celebrate with their families during the Spring Festival. Facilitating their return safely was vital. The company established a quarantine process, renting two local hotels exclusively for Ryder people. Food and lodging were provided free of charge to employees.
These practical measures were important, but Ryder’s management recognized that it was essential to also consider colleagues’ mental health during this traumatic time. Counselling was made available to all, and over 250 employees accepted this support. The quarantine lasted for 14 days.
Return to Production – Because of Ryder’s history of probity and close communication with government officials, we were one of the first companies allowed to return to work. During the resumption of production, Ryder strictly implemented the government’s requirements for epidemic prevention to ensure everyone’s safety.
Government officials went through the preparation for return to production with Ryder’s management team. How many people are returning? What areas are they coming from? How many masks do you have?
Workplace isolation barriers were quickly set up and safety reports were posted daily. Every employee’s temperature was taken twice a day, the public areas continue to be sterilized daily, and a staggered shift policy was implemented to reduce the risks to employees. On the factory floor, the distance between workstations has increased substantially to 2 meters, the number of employees on each accommodation floor has been reduced, and the canteen has set up separate tables so that staff can have lunch and dinner whilst observing safe social distancing.
We are so proud of Ryder’s response to the pandemic. This is best illustrated by two key facts: zero infections for our people, and a record output in March 2020 from our inland plant. At no point did our people suffer financially either, all employees were paid in full throughout the crisis. Ryder prides itself on its resilience, and it is not just our business which endures, but our loyalty to our people; maybe success is not best measured during the good times, but rather during times of hardship.
“Our company is really doing a great job in prevention and control measures, so we feel very secure,” an employee who has worked at Ryder for 10 years commented.
Recovery, Vigilance and Going the Extra Mile – Back at full production, Ryder continues to take precautionary measures, knowing that any slip in quality control could lead to the epidemic’s return. We also know that other areas of the world have been hit harder than us. Ryder has donated hundreds of masks to a customer in Italy, a country hit very hard, with more fatalities than China. Our hearts go out to the rest of the world – stay strong! #TogetherWeMakeIt