"Although we see that the COVID-outbreak is affecting projects all over the world, we are also assured that good, healthy food production will only become more important for countries, as will be local sources of food. The industry will develop - the question for now is how to handle the current situation." Speaking is Brice Richel, sales director for CIS countries at the Richel Group. The greenhouse building company has put everything in place to keep production going and says their employees are the ones to be thanked most for that.
With a history of 55 years, the Richel Group has become one of the leading greenhouse manufacturers throughout the world. With a stable position as a 100% owned family business, the team with Richel has handled unexpected situations before - yet as the recently released photos of the team show, the shift that has been made is one they never saw before. If it is social distancing on the workplace or if it is working from home, the photos of the 170 employees show how they are working under unexpected conditions, but with pride and commitment. "We see that everybody is working to enable our groups activities and continue to serve our customers. It's amazing to see how their courage and solidarity proves that perseverance is a high value within Richel."
The high-tech manufacturing facility of the turn-key supplier in Eygalieres, in South of France, has reduced its level of production but is still quite active, as is the equipment subsidiary in Saint-Barthélémy. "Especially in manufacturing and logistics, there are still many people working on these sites every day. Their mobilization is exemplary in the fight against COVID-19," Brice says. For the engineers, purchasing staff, accounting and most administrative departments, the working place have shifted to home - they continue teleworking. "For the company we keep in mind that parents have to accompany their children in their schooling as well as for the employees taking care of sick people."
Projects around the world
For an international company there are many different situations to take into account. "Some building projects will be delayed as the activities have stopped for now, at some we plan to restart again with additional safety measures. Yet also we hear from many clients and partners that they are also depending on our capability to keep production and delivery going. That's also why we are proud of our employees that are doing their best to keep everything going: we do not want to be behind when projects will restart - there's a rush to be expected than as all projects will happen on the same time."
To make this possible there has been an intensive awareness campaign amongst all employees on barrier actions and the team has helped to close open spaces and reorganise working spaces. In addition there's additional spaces for lunch breaks, to guarantee safety distances. "By now we also set up teleworking facilities for nearly 100 people, for those able to work remote. For the teams in the production, there's two 8-hours shift to reduce the presence on site."
"COVID-19 imposes physical distance on us to save lives, but in our hearts we stay together. We are proud to feel the team spirit and the commitment to endure - and the massive participation in the photo report is a beautiful testimony to what we sincerely thank our employees," Brice concludes, also in name of Antoine Lepilleur & Benjamin Richel, co-Managing Directors of the Group.
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