A virus which wasrelatively unheard of until just recently is nowwreaking havoc acrosspopulations and businesses. COVID-19hascalled fornew structures, new business continuity plans and new regulatory compliance - all in a very short space of time. Tomra Sorting Recycling providesan insight into how it is managing the current situation.
Personal lives and businesses have been subject to unprecedented change in 2020. The pandemic hasspread relentlessly, exposing businesses to unknown challenges and unexpected changes.“Over these last few months, we have learned more than ever before that being able to quickly respond to new situations, being aware of our corporate and individual responsibilities, and developing a sharedunderstanding of the rapidly evolving situation areall key factors in overcoming the pandemic in the most effective and secure way possible,” explains Tom Eng, SVP Head of Tomra Recycling.
Corporate action is paramount
Tackling coronavirus effectsivelyreliesheavily on corporations taking action to mitigate the spread of the virus from every angle. Tomra took this responsibility very seriously right from the start. Protecting itscore asset, itsemployees, was and will always beat the center of all corporate actions, followed by business continuity plans to ensure smooth operations and services. It all started in China, where the virus kicked off. Ted Park, Regional Sales Director Asia at Tomra Sorting Recycling, explains: “With China being the first country to be severely affected by the virus, I took the first steps within the company and introduced multiple measures to keep my team safe. Moreover, since South Korea already controlled the export of masks or their shipment outside its territory and limited the amount of masks available for purchase per person, some Korean colleagues sent masks in packages of 20-30 pieces to some colleagues in China to provide them with the necessary, increasingly scarce equipment. In doing so, we felt more solidarityand a feeling of togetherness during the very initial outbreak of the pandemic.”
Soon after, the virus crossed the Chinese border and forced more countries and Tomra subsidiaries to act.“In mid-March, the spread of the virus increased steadily and hit the US very hard. As I’m responsible for my US team, I immediately closed our office in Charlotte,North Carolina, even before I was officially asked to do so, thus limiting possible contact with the virus,” expresses Carlos Manchado Atienza, Regional Sales Director Americas at Tomra Sorting Recycling.A feeling of caring for and mutually supporting each other constantly grew:when masks became scarce at Tomra 's production facilities in Europe, the Chinese team sent some of their masks along with other equipment to ensure the safety of their colleagues.
Over time, the scale of the crisis became increasingly apparent and the introduction of extensive precautionary measures became vital. Tomra reviewed and strengthenedits local regulations and implemented regulations that are broadly in line with the recommendations of local health authorities and government andnow apply to all of ourglobal offices and facilities.
First and foremost, social contact had to be reduced to a minimum. For this reason, Tomra imposed a corporate travel ban and committed to all meetings taking place virtually, with no further face-to-face meetings. Being in the fortunate position that all employees have the required equipment to work from home right from their first working day, the necessary prerequisites were already in place and the transition to working from home was conducted smoothly. But not every working task can be transferred home. For those working on site, social distancing became mandatory and production staff was asked to wear masks. Increasing the frequency of cleaning and providing disinfectants, which are available in offices and facilities, complement the existing on-site safety measures.Employees are kept up to date almost daily and learn from a steady flow of information on the current situation and any changes that occur.