As we all adjust to the fast-changing environment in which we are now operating, I thought it might be helpful to share with you a summary of some of the key actions we are taking in the business.
Our priority remains to focus on protecting the health and well-being of our valuable employees (and their families) together with continuity for our regular, ongoing business, supporting our customers both in the UK and overseas. It is also vitally important that we comply with advice and are part of the national effort to control, or slow down, the spread of the virus.
A Covid-19 Core Team was established in the first week of March, with dedicated resource having the time available to keep up-to-date with the detailed scientific and health guidance coming from Government (HMG) and the implications which flow from that. Our Core Team has been meeting daily to ensure that we are always acting on the latest advice and thinking. Below the Core Team, we have a deployment team which is developing and implementing actions across the business. MFS, MGP and Group are directly engaged at that level, alongside MADG. Marshall Motor Holdings plc is managing the situation independently, although we are sharing information and learning between both groups.
In addition to the clear ongoing self-isolating and social distancing advice from HMG about anyone experiencing any of the recognised symptoms, or coming into close/direct contact with someone else who is (eg family member), some of the key actions in place as of today are:
- Following a role-by-role review, just over 600 employees have now been asked to work from home until further notice, unless they are called in for any particular reason. This includes a large number of our engineers and those employees who can be defined under the HMG guidelines as vulnerable.
- We still have some 1,200 employees working on our sites who are directly involved with production and/or delivery, so we have implemented revised working practices with immediate effect. This includes social distancing, isolation/separation between each of the hangars and also between each of our other buildings/offices to minimise contact/exposure.
- Our premises are now closed to all non-essential external visitors.
- Meetings are now being held by phone or using web-based video-conferencing.
- Apart from a few key staff, employees who have been working overseas have now been repatriated home.
- Significant restrictions on all travel have also been implemented.
- The canteen is now closed, but our catering team will be delivering food and drinks around the site to those who are working.
Our fantastic IT team has been working around the clock to enable such large numbers to work remotely, with secure access to our key business systems. You will also understand that the specific requirements and challenges vary between the businesses and between departments. For example, our Fleet Solutions team is working even harder at present to support their customers, particularly the supermarkets and online delivery agents, so we have reconfigured their offices, call centres and working practices to reduce contact and the risk of infection.
Separately, as you would expect, we are also in close contact and discussion with many of our customers as well as some of our key partners and suppliers to explore any opportunities which may exist for us to support the national effort, as we have done before on many occasions, including the Falklands Conflict.
Some of you may also have seen the news report earlier this week that ‘our’ field hospital is being
repatriated to the UK to increase the capacity of our medical services at this critical phase.
I hope this will help give you some assurance that we are working hard to try and manage the situation, to protect our employees and our business so that we can, hopefully come through this as best we can.
Clearly, however, the situation is continuing to change rapidly, as it will next week once the schools have closed, so we will be adjusting our actions and advice accordingly. I will send out a further update if/when we have to make any significant changes to our arrangements as the situation develops.
Alex Dorrian CBE