France | Long days for more safety
On March 13, 2020, one day after lockdown was announced in France, the B. Braun plant in Ludres had three times as many orders as usual. Since hospitals were unsure of what the future would bring, they wanted to be ready. At the same time, many of the employees had to stay at home from one day to the next, either to take care of their children or because they themselves were high-risk patients. This is why manager Nicolas Riancho and his team decided to keep the warehouse open for longer hours, and on the weekend.
Mr. Riancho, how did you manage to deal with the high order volume and the lockdown at the same time?
In the beginning, we still thought it was just going to be extreme circumstances for a while, and everything would soon calm down. Instead, more orders came in the following weeks than we had ever seen before. Due to the size of our warehouse and social distancing guidelines, we were only able to hire eight additional workers, so we decided to form two larger teams who would each work in eighthour shifts, from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM instead of until 6:00 PM, plus a shift on Saturday. This meant the shifts only overlapped by two hours instead of four.
Why did you and your team decide to take on this responsibility?
I wanted to meet our customers’ needs while also protecting my employees from the virus. Together, we recognized that extending the times we worked was the most responsible solution.
How did you manage to get through that difficult time?
Our team spirit was our strength. We had meetings every day and were even able to make use of psychological support. We also knew that B. Braun paid attention to a lot of measures from the start, such as PPE and regular disinfection, so that no one was infected. We also received thank-you letters from the management board of B. Braun France, the French government and our customers, which gave us strength.
What gives you hope?
Since mid-May, the situation has relaxed a little and we’re back to our normal shift schedules. I realize that the situation is still difficult, but my team and I also know that we’ve been able to tackle an extreme situation before. We’re here for our customers, no matter what happens.