How to sight-see without breaking COVID-19 rules!
During the last two weeks I’ve seen sights at Fourayes I never thought I’d see.
I’ve seen our Sales Director making up product boxes, our Operations Manager trimming apple, our Quality Systems Manager multi-tasking ‘faster than a speeding bullet’, one of our engineers on the Grader and one of our development specialists in QC.
I even found myself taking on the Apple line paperwork – ensuring that customer orders are being met correctly and accurately.
What caused these strange events to happen?
Until three weeks ago, we had largely avoided the worst of COVID-19: our early introduction of PPE, COVID-19 signage, distancing, additional hand-washing and sanitisation regimes and the like meant that the number of COVID-19 infections and isolations we’d experienced were virtually non-existent.
Then the viral dam broke.
Whether it was one of the new COVID-19 variants that changed things, or something else, I cannot be certain, but suddenly we were hit by a torrent of absences due to infection or isolation.
Our focus was absolute: to keep production lines going without loss of quality.
The fact that we place strong emphasis on cross-training helped as people could step into the roles of others, but this was an absentee tsunami that couldn’t be held back by cross-training alone.
Quite simply, everyone stepped up. As I said in a note to all staff, ‘I’ve run out of children I can bring in to help’, even as my grown-up daughter and both my grown-up sons leant their weight and experience to supporting operations.
The great news is that I really didn’t need any more children because everyone at Fourayes who wasn’t isolating or sick took on new roles and responsibilities with enthusiasm. My thanks goes to every single person that has kept Fourayes commitments with our customers during this difficult period, without complaint and without generating customer complaints either.
Last week I also became a Fourayes COVID Marshall. Well, a student Marshall actually, joining the cohort of people in the business engaging with everyone here to make sure we continue to lead the way in securing the safety of our workplace.
As the number of isolations is now diminishing, there’s one thing I know for certain: there are some sights I will simply never forget!
Well done everyone who has taken on responsibilities with gusto and worked with diminished departments. Thank you for a truly great achievement in the face of extraordinary adversity.
MD of Fourayes, Vice Chairman of British Apples & Pears and Fruitician