As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts everyday business, professionals in convenience services are using creative strategies to run operations and provide food and beverages to essential workers in their communities. Each week, we’ll highlight the important work being done by leaders in our industry. Have something you’d like to share with us? Email us here.
The Nackard Companies: Pepsi/Hi-Line
Gene Simon, senior director at Pepsi/Hi-Line in Flagstaff, Ariz., shares some tips on how his operation quickly responded to the coronavirus pandemic and how they’ve kept employees engaged and productive. Simon explains how his company’s swift action allowed them to continue service to many of their biggest accounts.
Q: Are there any creative strategies you can share from your experience so far of navigating the coronavirus pandemic?
A: Communication: While it’s not necessarily creative, I think the most beneficial tool we employed was communication. Our ownership quickly identified the need to establish a clear and consistent communication protocol. Having this in place quickly allowed all levels of our organization to be kept well informed and helped keep rumors and false information to a minimum. Employees appreciated knowing what we were doing and how we were planning react as the situation evolved.Gather Resources: The second critical step was to immediately recognize the need to protect our employees and customers by adopting clear sanitation and protection measures. Publishing procedures and getting materials to our people quickly was crucial. Since we were ahead of many of our customers in this area, being able to share with customers that we had the necessary materials and processes in place allowed us to maintain service to many of our largest customers.Appreciation: Recognizing that our front-line employees are putting themselves at a higher risk during this period and offering them additional compensation during this time sent a message of appreciation that meant a lot to them. The financial incentive was good but hearing from ownership that their service was appreciated was really great.
Q: Could you share with us a story of you or your employees going above and beyond during this crisis?
A: We don’t have a single story, but we have seen that almost every one of our employees has been willing to be flexible and do whatever is needed to help out. We told our employees at the outset that this was a unique situation and that we needed everyone’s cooperation. And that’s what’s been happening. We’re having employees do a lot of machine maintenance during this time: cleaning machines, replacing bulbs, getting equipment in top working order, etc. This is needed work that can be accomplished now which will pay off later.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would like to share with other operators at this time?
A: Don’t focus on what can’t be done right now – accounts that can’t be serviced, new business you can’t acquire – instead look at what you can be doing. Warehouse projects, database management, projects you might have been putting off that you and your team now have the time to do. It will keep you and your employees engaged and productive.
Read continuously updated and expanded coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.