Remaining calm and vigilant, with an unwavering focus on the safety of our employees and their families, has been instrumental in our journey back to everyday working life. But we would never have been able to weather the coronavirus storm without the exceptional team spirit of my colleagues here in Tianjin, China.
At Elos Medtech, the safety of our staff and their families is always of the utmost importance. Which is why we are extremely pleased to announce that none of our Tianjin employees have ever been infected with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Something we check meticulously several times a day.
Overcoming shutdowns, lockdowns and travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak began to spread across China just before the Chinese New Year. So we had already planned to shut down our local factory in Tianjin for the festivities. We intended to re-open straight after the holidays but, due to central government restrictions, the factory remained closed for a couple of extra weeks.
Around this time, the whole of China was in lockdown and a 14-day quarantine had been imposed on all national and international travel. Public transport was banned, schools had been shut down and only a few airlines were operating in and out of China. Constantly providing government officials with personal information and having your temperature taken was now commonplace. After which, there was growing pressure from the central government for businesses around the country to get up and running as quickly and safely as possible.
Our calm and vigilant journey back to work in China
Of our 113 employees, only 50 people visited their hometowns for the Chinese New Year festivities. By February 6th, 24 of these employees had managed to return to Tianjin. All of whom were quarantined as a precautionary measure. The remaining employees who had travelled to their hometowns for the festivities had not yet been able to return to Tianjin, due to travel restrictions from those areas. But we were in contact with everybody daily and I’m pleased to confirm that not a single Elos Medtech employee has been infected throughout this entire ordeal.
After a lot of hard work and determination, on Tuesday February 18th, we finally received the approval letter from the local government telling us we could restart production at our Tianjin facility. We were permitted to start at 50% production capacity and gradually increase. And today we can happily say that all of our employees are safe and back at work.
In addition to the preventative requirements imposed by the Chinese authorities, such as travel and meeting restrictions, other precautionary measures we introduced, and continue to observe, include:
- Office staff rotation (50% of staff on site, on alternate days, with all office staff now back at work)
- Everyone to maintain a certain distance during canteen visits
- Temperature checks of every employee twice a day
- Designated area in the factory in the event of an employee falling ill
- Limitations on visitors entering the factory
- All protection waste collected in one designated area
- All factory staff to wear facial protection
- Extremely high hand hygiene requirements
- Special mats installed at each entrance
Production has now returned to normal and, partly due to good planning and foresight, and partly due to an incredible team effort, our supply chain has not been affected by the disruptions. As I said at the beginning of this article, I believe that remaining calm and vigilant, with an unwavering focus on the safety of our employees and their families, has been instrumental during this time.
Dedicated staff has enabled us to continue delivering much-needed medical devices
The dedication of our staff and their team efforts, along with our safety stock of inventory and raw materials, has enabled us to continue meeting the demands of major healthcare companies.
We have been working with our supply chain constantly, resolving minor disruptions on a daily basis and minimising the risks. This work is already starting to pay off and we are beginning to make up for those weeks when the factory was closed.
One of the reasons we are relieved that production is up and running again is that we can continue delivering much-needed medical devices. Which is particularly important during this sensitive time. And we are in regular contact with our customers to actively prevent potential disruptions and any repercussions for them and their patients.
Weathering the coronavirus storm in China – a true team effort
Now that China is slowly re-emerging after a dark winter, perhaps companies now facing the same difficulties in Europe and the US can find some comfort in seeing how far we have come in such a short time.
These past few months have definitely been a challenge, but my colleagues here at Tianjin have weathered the storm with courage and dedication. Those employees who were able to return to work have put in an incredible effort. By taking on the extra workload of their colleagues who were still stranded in their hometowns, they enabled us to maintain our production levels and prevent any disruptions to our supply chain.
The team spirit here at Tianjin has been truly inspirational. It is a very tangible demonstration of the dedication and positive attitude that is so characteristic of the Elos Medtech family. We’re proud of every single Elos Medtech employee and we firmly believe that they are our most important resource. Which is why we work so hard to ensure that all Elos Medtech workplaces are safe and healthy places to be.
If you have any questions about our Tianjin facility, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Or if you would like to find out more about safety and quality at Elos Medtech, you might be interested in reading this article by Anders Björklund, Director of Quality & Regulatory at Elos Medtech. Or if you’re simply looking for more information about our extensive range of quality, sustainable medtech products, then why not have a browse about our website.
The images shown in this article were taken at our Tianjin facility before the coronavirus outbreak and are included for illustration purposes only.