By now, the dust is starting to settle down, after the working day started in a historic way for many South Africans on the 27th of March. All have battened down the hatches and hopefully were able to do so healthy and safely.
In South Africa, this all culminated – at least for now – on the evening of the 23rd of March 2020, when President Ramaphosa, in his address to the nation, implemented a national lockdown for 21 days, starting midnight on the 26th of March up to midnight 16 April 2020.
The last couple of days have been like a whirlwind, running from one challenge to the next. Several announcements have been made on the impact of the Covid-19 virus, the need to stay abreast with the COVID-situation in many jurisdictions, ensuring the health and safety of employees and even some staff just making it back home in time from international travel.
Alaris Antennas was affected by this decision and closed production for 21 days. The past week was very challenging for all staff at Alaris Antennas – a lot of effort was put in to get the last orders out to our customers before lockdown, making sure that the IT environment will run smoothly and setting staff up to work from home.
The management team under leadership of Gisela Heyman, did a superb job in addressing various challenges before having to close for the lockdown. At least 60% of the staff were set up to continue to work from home. Production staff worked diligently until late Thursday afternoon to still get orders out to customers in time. Production and manufacturing at the Alaris Antennas offices were closed due to the Government regulations.
All other operations at COJOT (including the contract manufacturers in Finland and Estonia) and mWave in the USA, are at present still fully operating. Best practices, like working from home and social distancing have however also been introduced. With the cross-selling between Alaris and COJOT, COJOT is still in a position to deliver products to some of the Alaris customers and Alaris might be able to invoice the customer for those products. This diversification in the Group definitely adds value.
Fortunately, modern technology allows us to continue in a number of areas – product developments, product management, sales, finance, etc.
The Alaris Holdings Group Exco meets virtually twice a week at present to stay updated about the situation worldwide and specifically at all subsidiaries. Should the situation change drastically, an emergency meeting will be called.
I would like to thank each customer and supplier for their understanding, effort and commitment to continue and make things work in these unprecedented times.
The ALH Group Interim Financial Results presentation, which was held by way of a teleconference call on the 24th of March, revealed excellent results. The ALH Group experienced the best first half ever, which we are very grateful for. This is assisting us to put all stakeholders’ minds at ease that our strong balance sheet will assist the company to weather the future impact of the Coronavirus.
Words from Aristoteles fit very well to these trying and uncertain times: “We cannot change the wind, but we can set the sails differently”.
Please keep in mind that for a number of the business divisions, it is business as normal and members of the Alaris Antennas teams can be reached for business enquiries, developments and product information.
I wish to encourage everyone to stay healthy and safe in these extraordinary times.