Published: 7 Jul 2020
Dr Mohamed Ellethey, Sustainability and Quality Assurance Head at Elsewedy Electric, Egypt, talks to Daniel Moore about his experience working during the coronavirus pandemic, and how his team have adapted their processes to deliver quality and better communication between staff and customers.
Daniel Moore: Could you tell us more about what Elsewedy Electric does as a business?
Mohamed Ellethey: Elsewedy Electric provides wind and solar energy solutions across Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The business started in Egypt 80 years ago, and since then, we have diversified from a manufacturer of electrical components to a global provider of integrated energy, digital and infrastructure solutions. Our portfolio of items span from winding wires and power cables through to energy/water meters and lighting poles (fiber glass).
Over the past eight decades, we have grown our company footprint, which includes more than 10,000 employees working in 30 production facilities in 14 countries around the world. Our products are also distributed to over 110 countries worldwide.
DM: How has Elsewedy Electric helped staff across its other production sites during the pandemic?
ME: Our company leadership teams focused on the following three areas:
- Protection of the workforce. This involved standardising and formalising the company’s operating procedures, processes and tools, which helped to keep our staff safe. This has also led to better communication, where management teams have and continue to listen and respond to any employee concerns effectively.
- Driving productivity at a distance as staff manage performance at the production sites, while having social distancing and remote working policies in place.
- Managing risks effectively to ensure business continuity.
DM: Has your role at Elsewedy Electric been affected by the coronavirus pandemic?
ME: My role and quality within the company has not been affected as such. This is because my team and I have been communicating effectively with our customers using online communication tools during the pandemic by answering and addressing their needs/requirements to the best of our abilities, with the resources available to us at this time.
DM: How have you and your colleagues adapted to remote working?
ME: When the pandemic started, our first priority was our employees. With that said, it was vital for us to encourage and get them set up to work from home as quickly as possible. We carried out training to help our staff create a home office so that they could work in a comfortable and personalised space effectively.
We also taught them about using a range of technologies and remote tools in a smart way. This included showing them how to use Office 365 and Google Drive for managing important documents, Microsoft Teams for communicating with other staff members and customers, and Zoom for video conference calls.
DM: What lessons have you learned so far as a result of the pandemic?
ME: During the crisis, we have learned:
- Effective communication must take place across all aspects of an organisation
- Employees are the most valued asset for any company and businesses should work together to ensure they protect the health and wellbeing of their staff.
- This is the most crucial time to let employees work from home, until the situation with Covid-19 changes, especially to contain the risk of infection.
- We have learned how to adapt quickly and efficiently to the ‘new normal’ of working remotely (from home) by utilising various software applications (mentioned above).
- Collaborating with customers and suppliers is the way for organisations to survive and thrive during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
- Successful responses to unusual situations depends on successful and decisive leadership.
DM: What advice would you give to other quality professionals who have been impacted by the coronavirus and are trying to get back on track?
Quality professionals should be prioritising their customers and staff more so than ever during this pandemic.
They must ensure that they establish regular and strong communication with them, while protecting their health and safety at all times by following the Covid-19 government guidelines.
In addition to these duties, quality professionals should be replying to new and existing customer queries on time, following up with their production plans to meet customer demand, as well as following up the cost of poor quality, so that they are able to make the necessary improvements to increase performance and curtail costs for their businesses.