In early May, our customer began re-opening their locations. They asked for WCAOEM’s support in bringing back the depot to support their operations.  We started bring team members back into our facilities slowly, in order to comply with our enhanced distancing and safety rules that were enacted to keep our workers safe. We were able to bring back the STUDIES team members as we needed them, and were able to stay ahead of customer’s needs.  We had a multiple calls with senior management of the customer, who praised our handling of the bring up of the depot operation.  They told us that we were the had “set the bar by which they are going to measure other suppliers.”  It was a proud moment for us, as we had taken care of our team members as we hastily closed down the depot, and then lead the way in bringing it back.  

All of our depot team members, with the exception of program management, project management, and order entry, are back in our Southwick and Westfield, MA facilities.  Each week, a few of our STUDIES team members are giving presentations to the rest of the team about their STUDIES project. This is not only an opportunity for each team member to show off their PowerPoint skills, but also an opportunity to publicly present what they learned to the rest of the team.   Now, some of these new skills will directly benefit WCAOEM and WCA as a whole.  Those that took project management as a STUDIES project, for example, will probably have a little bit different of a perspective when working on projects for our customers.  Plus, as we continue to grow and expand, we have an internal pool of candidates (I call it our bench, like a baseball team) that can fill newly created roles.  And even if we helped a team member develop a new skill, or planted a seed of interest that they go and further their education, and eventually move on from WCAOEM to other opportunities, we will have benefitted from having them on our team, and having them help us ramp back up for our customers as the nation reopens from the pandemic.

As history is written on how different organizations reacted and adapted to COVID-19, and how they worked with their team members, a lot of attention is going to be placed on technology and how companies adopted technologies like video conferencing and other collaboration tools.  What also needs to be examined is the human element, and how businesses worked with their team member to find a short term solution to a short term problem.  In WCAOEM’s case, it will be a stronger, better organization because we chose to invest in our team members at a time when it would have been all to easy to hunker down and try to pick up the pieces later.