They took care of the restart
Preparations for the restart of production and to ensure hygiene and employee safety required enormous efforts by several teams. In the “first line” were the PSU and SG departments
enka Bočková, Head of PSU – Ecology and Occupational Protection, and Jiří Prokop, Head of SG – Health Services and Ergonomics, describe these demanding weeks.
What happened from the first shutdown decisions until production resumed?
Lenka: These were a demanding seven weeks; we worked hard for many hours in a row and had to make quick operational decisions. Everything changed from one minute to the next when it turned out that some measures didn’t work. We didn’t have any time to “ponder”. We found a face mask supplier one day, but the next day, we realised that he would be unable to fulfil the delivery, so we promptly had to find another. Everything happened at a time when the Czech plants were no longer running and the government didn’t have protective equipment, even for emergency service members.
Did this difficult time bring with it any positive surprises?
Jiří: I was pleasantly surprised by how well the ŠKODA family worked. Before, during (and now, after) the shutdown, everyone has done what was needed. A lot of activities went on very rapidly, and everybody tried to reach a common goal – providing maximum safety for the restart of production. Enthusiasm and the will to solve everything, to do it the Czech way, became all the ŠKODA people’s motto. I saw how quickly some things were executed that would normally have taken more time. I am glad that we are still able to act flexibly and “switch” to a crisis management style.
What was the biggest surprise?
Jiří: How the state reacted. It turned out that in an event of a similar scale, it is not able to handle things quickly and flexibly. Companies had to take care of themselves, including providing for protective equipment.
How were the plants operated during the outage, and who was at work?
Jiří: Above all, the employees who provided for the decommissioned technologies’ safety, as well as the plant security service, the firefighters, paramedics and others, had to work. We arranged for their presence with the KOVO Trade Union as needed.
Lenka: Employees who did not have to be on-site also worked intensively. We consulted lawyers on government regulations, and a lot of work was done by the Purchasing area, the Communication department and many others.
Will you use any of this in the future?
Jiří: Certainly. We already know that home office is working even in areas that we hadn’t considered before. We also discovered that we have to be careful, even in ordinary situations. And we will make use of all the experience – for example, during the seasonal flu epidemic, when people will no longer be ashamed to wear a face mask.
What did the situation look like after production resumed? What kept you busy?
Lenka: We chiefly wanted to move on from crisis management to an ordinary mode, for example, by not having face masks handed out by the PSU department but by them becoming standard warehouse and production items. My main task was to bring back all activities as much as possible to the usual mode. However, we are far from reaching this point; further measures will remain and will gradually be lifted. We don’t know how long this is going to take. Luděk Vokáč