Managing rapid change during the Covid-19 crisis – Part I

Managing rapid change during the Covid-19 crisis – Part I

Home » Managing rapid change during the Covid-19 crisis – Part I

Post By Stuart Thomas -
Consolidation Director

Reorganising ourselves in order to serve our clients


As the leading commercial space transformation specialists, Sigma is responsible for keeping several leading UK retailers up and running with their goods not for resale (GNFR).  Going beyond just the traditional install or sourcing of this equipment, Sigma manages entire equipment and distribution centres for a number of high street names including supermarkets and pharmaceutical retailers who have been on the frontline during recent months.

With this comes a responsibility to respond to their client needs at any given time, whether to support an instore promotion, refurbish an entire store or to develop creative ways to display specific goods.  Key to this is a solid Facilities capability and thanks to significant investment from Sigma in their own offering, they are well-placed to exceed client expectation on a regular basis.

However, as with many businesses throughout the UK, Sigma had to rethink how it could best support its clients whilst ensuring the safety of its staff as the global health crisis hit.  Thanks to a series of well-thought-out measures, the Sigma facilities division was able to continue to operate with minimal staff reductions whilst delivering on-time, every time for their clients.

Keeping our colleagues safe


Sigma is renowned for its safety-first culture and so when the need to adapt its environment arose, it was able to respond quickly and effectively.  Several measures were put in place early and it is this quick response that has ensured the Sigma equipment centres could remain largely operational.

  • The working patterns of all equipment centre staff were reviewed and it was identified that the night shift could be halted in the short term due to the slight reduction in workload from those clients who had been forced to close their doors. Focus turned to what could be achieved throughout an elongated day, with most deliveries then taking place during the night.
  • Daily team briefings were introduced for the start of every shift to ensure all colleagues could hear the same information, particularly when related to new safety changes or specific requirements for the day.
  • Sanitisation stations were set up throughout the equipment centres at key locations at which alcohol wipes and hand gel is readily available. In addition, a new cleaning initiative ensures that all powered and non-powered handling equipment is wiped down after each operation, as well as all computer and handheld devices that have been used.
  • When social distancing measures were introduced by the UK Government, these were quickly adopted by Sigma. 2m distancing was practised, enforced and measured on a daily basis in all areas of their facilities.  This was re-enforced by new hi-vis vests worn by warehouse operatives which reminded staff of the minimum required distancing.
  • Additional PPE also made available to ensure colleagues felt safe at work, including masks and gloves. These were primarily utilised for inbound deliveries where the standard of covid-security was unknown.

A new normal


For the Facilities Division office staff, they are slowly returning to the workplace after a period of working from home.  Changes have been made to make the office environment covid-secure, including the introduction of deck partitions and workstations taken out of operation to allow colleagues the appropriate spacing for social distancing.  In addition, measures adopted in the warehouse space have also been applied such as daily briefings and sanitisation stations.

Creating a safe working space for colleagues to allow Sigma to continue to support their front-line clients has not been without its challenges.  The evolving nature of the health crisis has meant that there has been an element of ‘watch and respond’ to new events, however the existing focus on health and safety has mean that the Division could respond in an agile way to ensure compliance.


“We have unleashed nimble, empowered teams. The pandemic has seen the large-scale deployment of fast, agile teams—small, focused cross-functional teams working together toward a common set of objectives that are tracked and measured. We have made this work by charging each team with a specific mission: an outcome that matters for customers or employees, empowering each team to find its own approach, and then getting out of the way”

– Stephen Woolf; Head of SHEQ

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Coming in part two; Continuing to deliver a leading service to our clients

 

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