Steve here to talk with you about some interesting things UCDS has been doing in the last two years. As you know, Covid has impacted not only our industry but the entire globe. As businesses started opening up again, the main question plants had was can we do more with less staff. Some plants decided to cut staffing immediately while others hired UCDS to do staffing studies. However, we faced the challenge of following travel restrictions which sometimes included mandatory 14-day quarantines. Due to this, UCDS pivoted and began offering more services online and over video calls. This opened up opportunities for Ian and Chris to be able to help more clients remotely and provide services that would have not been feasible due to the high costs of quarantining during the height of the travel restrictions.
3 things UCDS is doing right now:
- Ian completed UCDS’ first-ever Alarm Management project on Microsoft Teams in 2020 right as businesses and travel shut down at the height of Covid. This may be the first time any company has ever completed an alarm management project remotely. There are some inherent challenges when completely working remotely, especially on a large project like alarm rationalization. One of the biggest challenges for a video call with multiple stakeholders is too much information can be given and some information can even get lost. Also, participants’ initial thoughts can be changed after hearing others talk and share their ideas. This can lead to good ideas being forgotten or pushed aside if the person does not believe others will like it. When conducting an alarm rationalization project over video calls, it is important to have a moderator or leader who is going to be able to control the flow of information and ask the right questions. Since Ian has a plethora of experience in this field, he was able to masterfully guide the conversation to get the information he needed to complete a successful project. Do you want to read the testimony from Sinclair? We have one.
- Also, this year we were able to complete our first-ever remote staffing study with a company in Australia. The project was a good barometer to how we can effectively complete these projects without having to be onsite. With the time zone difference, all operator interviews were completed in the evening. In order for this to be successful, there had to be someone on the company’s side who kept the operators on track for their scheduled interviews. The company had a great champion who was able to do this for us. The other information Ian needed to be successful was a complete list of all the equipment under each operator. By sending Ian this information and keeping the operators on schedule, Ian was able to get all of the information he needed to determine appropriate staffing levels.
- Another service we completed remotely this year was a workshop with a company in Hungary. This was another first for UCDS and the company was so happy with how we completed the workshop that we were invited onsite when travel restrictions were lifted to complete additional services. The workshop was set up like an in-person workshop with an agenda, time for questions and answers, and built-in breaks. Participants also had an opportunity to interact with the material similar to what the workshop would have been in person.
It has been a challenging year for UCDS, but we are excited for the new opportunities we have been able to participate in and offer to our clients.