Looking back & looking forward
Kim Becker, CEO of Africa Mobility Sevices, explains how his company is tackling the COVID-19 crisis and looks at some of the innovations from the region.
I remember watching the news on our television set in early January of this year, whilst preparing for our shareholders’ meeting which takes place during February. AMS had completed a very successful year of trading during its last financial year, so we were expecting a further improvement. The news covered the pandemic, which was rolling out through China, and we were concerned about how our partners in Asia were coping. We also planned for our business development manager to attend the IMA conference which was held in Cambodia. At this stage there was concern about this pandemic spreading through Asia. We decided to attend; little did we know that this would be the last moving industry conference that would take place during the early 2020 season.
This pandemic has affected everyone in the global mobility industry worldwide. Those businesses that are agile, flexible, innovative and have invested in Cloud Technology, are able to navigate through this massive change in the way we do business.
One of the distinguishing features between businesses that are surviving the pandemic and those that are not, is the speed with which the former adapt to the changing environment. Another related feature is a focus outward on the needs of their customers rather than inward on their own difficulties. The latter focuses on problems, while the former sees opportunities, leading to innovative ways to do, what at first sight, seems impossible.
Our operational teams in our offices adapted to the COVID – 19 World Health Organisations guidelines: our administrative and move management teams worked from home; and our crews got used to wearing face masks and gloves, having there temperatures checked, sanitising surfaces and their vehicles, and changing their clothes after every shift. Fortunately, we have been able to operate where we have offices, as we are service providers to the oil and gas industry, and we have our required essential service permits.
AMS also offers virtual surveys and software technology which generates a digital inventory for every removal completed. One of the challenges with using first-world technology is the availability of the internet in certain African countries: but we have been successful in completing a virtual survey in Brazzaville the Congo recently!
We have also put together a weekly communication spreadsheet, advising our partners of which African Countries are starting to ease the Lock Down and beginning to trade. Africa is a very diverse country, with many innovations and initiatives taking place during this period.