Keeping our operations running and delivering for our customers
Many of our customers are in critical industries and customers have been at the centre of our considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim has been to prove that we stand by them no matter what, making every effort possible to fulfil our obligations and meet the high standards they have come to expect.
Managing our operations and supply chain to enable continuity of supply to our customers, whilst keeping our people safe, has been a key principle and has included finding new ways to deliver our services.
Keeping our operations running
The Operations & Supply Nerve Centre was formed in March 2020 in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. It enabled our operational leadership team to better manage our supply chain and operations activities during COVID-19 so that over 90% of our manufacturing sites remained in operation. Primary objectives were to:
- Increase visibility of COVID-19 impacts on our manufacturing plants, service operations, supply chain and people, improving situational awareness via a near-real-time, automated dashboard;
- Act as a rapid escalation point for critical Operations and Supply Chain issues, thereby supporting people safety and customer delivery through collaborative use of Group and Cross-Divisional resources;
- Drive consistency of response through the sharing of learning and best practices;
- Act as a think tank for forward business continuity planning.
The OSNC has since been re-purposed for continuing use, with a focus on the performance and resilience of ongoing manufacturing, service and supply chain operations.
Supporting customers during the pandemic
Restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have required everyone to quickly adapt and develop new ways to support customer needs. One example of this is in John Crane.
Innovative ways of undertaking critical inspection work have eliminated the need for travel, allowing parties to save on time and cost, while staying safe.
When the need arises for John Crane’s customers to inspect and approve highly engineered mechanical seals and system components, both parties would typically meet at a John Crane site to monitor and analyse the equipment while it is put through various performance tests. COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible for these in-person tests to happen.
The team at John Crane Bangalore, India devised a strategy to conduct seal gas panel tests remotely using a live video feed (complete with various camera angles), as well as the display of digital gauges and the ability for customers to ask real-time questions and make requests.
The John Crane Slough, UK team implemented a system where the gas seal static and dynamic test is streamed to the customer with key test information and the opportunity for direct communication with the test technician during the test.
In March 2020, John Crane France had many witness test inspections planned for high-performance couplings to be installed on ships in oil & gas and marine applications. Inspection tests are normally witnessed by the customer and a third-party inspector.
In just one week, the team developed an alternative remote solution, sourcing high-quality cameras to capture the fine details surrounding performance tests, a reliable connection source and a viable software solution.
Inspections were successfully completed remotely, on time and with approval from all sides.
Even during challenging times, Smiths responds with innovation and a focus on our customers.