While the lockdown in Victoria and difficult work conditions are adversely affecting industry around the country, some businesses have done everything in their power to maintain operations at the greatest possible level.
As much as these restrictions have adversely affected industries due to reduced active employee levels, many machinery-based and more automated production plants have managed sufficient output to maintain a viable business.
In fact, some have been fortunate to align and adapt their manufacturing to increased demands for certain products during this unusual period in local and world history.
Given the importance of any manufacturing to our devastated economy, such industry must remain active and productive.
Kaishan Australia, one of the country’s leading compressed air equipment suppliers, has changed its operational strategies to cope with the situation.
Their example is particularly pertinent because much of Australia’s – and in fact the world’s - manufacturing industry depends on compressed air to power its processes.
Kaishan Australia consist of two integral divisions: sales of high-end industrial air compressors and ancillary equipment, and a service division that maintains compressed air systems throughout the country.
The mobile technicians not only service and maintain the company’s own brand but have regular maintenance agreements to service, repair, and maintain many other makes of compressed air systems throughout a broad variety of Australian industry including manufacturing, food processing, mining, and scientific applications.
While the administration and sales side of the business is working as best it can under current enforced staffing limitations and a general business downturn, the service side is facing a whole different set of challenges entailing the current difficulties of site visitation and operational restrictions.
The Kaishan service technicians are required to provide regular maintenance checks and procedures at client premises to ensure compressed air systems, which are vital to keeping production lines running, are operating at peak efficiency.
The service team also provide a twenty-four-hour, seven-days-a week emergency breakdown service vital to any company relying on its compressed air system to function effectively.
A drop-off of such regular maintenance and services could place businesses in jeopardy of total, long-term shutdown - something that the industry and economy can ill afford at this or any other time.
“The challenges of providing efficient and effective support to our customers have been a daily dilemma,” says Kaishan Australia service manager Shane O’Brien.
“While traffic delays are minimal, moving through checkpoints and ensuring the service vans are cleaned and sanitised after each call takes a toll on our commitment to meet a two-hour attendance promise.”
The company’s COVID Safe plan requires all staff to access all areas of the business so as to keep employees safe and meet the restricted operational plans of Kaishan customers.
The decision to increase stock holdings from the three to six months at the start of the pandemic allowed Kaishan to meet the needs of its customers over the last five months.
O’Brien says that this recently allowed for a full refurbishment of a large compressor for an approved business to be completed with minimal impact on the customer’s operations.
Kaishan Australia’s CEO, Mark Ferguson, has his own perspective on the total company approach.
“It’s vital during these difficult times that we support our customers to ensure they have the compressed air needed to maintain production.” He says.
Kaishan faces many limitations in these goals, such as government restrictions, customers’ own policies around site access, and Kaishan’s own requirements implemented to keep its team safe.
“Maintaining our high servicing standards requires a significant and coordinated team effort, “ Ferguson says.
“From customer contact, scheduling, spare parts management, and technical support, through to the carrying out of work needs to be undertaken while maintaining social distancing, yet at the same time providing close personal contact and effective communication throughout the process.”
To do all this on top of keeping the team safe, motivated and focused - and during a worldwide pandemic no less - has been tough, but Ferguson says a team approach has played a big part in Kaishan’s success.
“Here at Kaishan Australia, we have definitely taken the approach with our people that “ We are all in this together”."
I congratulate all our team members for their dedication under such trying circumstances to ensure the company and our customers come through in the best possible shape,” he says.
“ At the end of the day, we want our customers to know we are looking after their best interests. But more importantly, we want the reliability of their compressed air to be the least of their worries while they deal with others challenges caused during this COVID-19 recovery period.”
No doubt many Australia supply and servicing companies are facing similar challenges, but with a determined attitude to “not drop the ball”, co-operative arrangements can and have been made with customers to ensure industries remain viable and optimistic for a rapid recovery and prosperous future throughout our resilient country.
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