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HomeSecurityAlarm SystemsStaff Key To Hills COVID-19 Procedures

Staff Key To Hills COVID-19 Procedures

SEN recently chatted with Scott Brogan, general manager of warehousing and distribution for Hills ANZ, to see how Australia’s largest distributor of security equipment has pivoted its operations to keep up with demand and keep staff morale strong.

JA: What has changed for the Hills Supply Chain team since Sydney went into lockdown almost 7 weeks ago?

SB: Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, the team at Hills National Distribution Centre in Seven Hills have been ready with their COVID safe plan in anticipation of being plunged into an extended lockdown. We have implemented a number of changes to ensure we continue to meet our customers’ expectations including:

* The warehouse has been split into 2 shifts, one early morning and one afternoon shifts with a 30-minute gap in between the finish and start of the 2 shifts. This is aimed at limiting the exposure and potential cross contamination amongst staff in the event of a COVID case being identified within the site.
* The trade centre is still open and running a single shift with contactless ordering, and click & collect – pickup
* There is no direct contact between the trade centre and warehouse staff
* All non-essential staff are now working from home and visitors are not allowed to enter the site
* All staff have their temperature taken at the start of their shift
* The facilities amenities are cleaned daily with extra care and cleaning of common touch points throughout the day
* The warehouse staff clean their work areas and equipment at the end and beginning of their shifts.

As per NSW Government guidelines:

* Masks are worn by all staff at all times, except when eating or drinking
* All staff are required to check in when on site
* All staff, where required, who are travelling out of a LGA that has additional requirements, such as 72 hours surveillance testing, are checked daily for proof of testing
* Hand sanitiser and antiseptic spray is stationed around the facility for regular use.

JA: What has been the biggest challenge for the team since Sydney went into lockdown in June?

SB: The shift change for the staff, especially those on afternoon shift. Some staff have found the transition a little tiring, but all have risen to the challenge and understand the role they play in keeping our industry moving.

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JA: Has there been a silver lining to the challenges the team has faced?

SB: Being able to continue our warehouse and trade centre operations with minimal impacts which allows us to keep our customers operating, especially those in critical industries such as health and security. I now our team are grateful at being able to continue working when parts of the economy cannot.

JA: Have there been any learnings from the changes, would you do anything differently if you could?

SB: As with all businesses, trying to stay abreast of the ever-changing landscape around COVID-19 and the government and Health directives has its challenges. Learning how to pivot and keep the team up to date with new requirements has certainly improved communication flow across the team, we have fantastic internal WHSE and People & Culture teams that help guide us through this.

JA: What are team spirits like?

SB: I am not going to lie. The longer the lock down continues the harder it gets for the employees, especially those who have changed their shifts and lifestyles to accommodate the changes. But all in all, the team have managed to maintain a positive outlook and soldier on. None of our staff have said this is too hard or I don’t want to do this. They have all been on board from day one. That’s the Hills’ way.

JA: Are you doing anything special to keep the team happy during these difficult times?

SB: We recently held an outdoor pizza day to thank the staff for their efforts. It was a great lunch and a bit funny with everyone politely waiting for each other to step in to take their slice – not what you would have seen happen in pre-covid times, where everyone would have been reaching in and grabbing their piece all at the same time, and you’d miss out if you didn’t get in quick. We are also continuing with our charitable fundraising as a way to help everyone see the bigger picture. Although it is tough at times, we understand that we are extremely lucky to be in the position we are in at Hills.

We are all living in very uncertain times at the moment, but there is one thing I am certain of and that is the Hills team’s ability to overcome adversity. I am extremely proud of the way in which the warehouse team has risen to the challenges put before them during this pandemic to ensure the business continues to operate with minimal impact to our customers. Not only do they turn up every day with a can-do attitude, they have managed to maintain all key operational metrics such as order cut off times, PIFOT and DIFOT. I couldn’t be prouder of their effort.


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SEN News
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