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Building Systems in Landen

Stories by Hydro

Responding to the crisis in Landen

The COVID-19 situation is challenging for Hydro, for suppliers and for customers. At Landen in Belgium, supply chain manager Mieke Vander Plaetse and her team are doing what they can to keep wheels turning in difficult times.

Mieke is dressed as always, standing head to toe in personal protective equipment, and happy to be at work for Building Systems in Belgium.

The supply chain manager at the Landen site is working to satisfy her customers and suppliers, and to keep her colleagues focused. Pretty much like before. Before the coronavirus.

“Last year, during the same period, we were victims of a big cyberattack. For several weeks, suppliers were highly demanding in a very stressful period,” says Mieke. “Now they are very grateful that we are still working.”

Read more on Hydro's actions to contain the spread of the Coronavirus

Healthy and safe workplace for employees

Mieke does not take the train anymore to work. Too risky. She takes her own car and drives 150 kilometers, each way, partly because it is the safest way for her to travel. And with three daughters, her action is more valuable than her words.

Mieke Vander Plaetse
Supply chain manager Mieke Vander Plaetse keep wheels turning in Hydro Building Systems in Landen, Belgium.

 

What is the team in Landen doing to make work safer for the 80 operators on the shopfloor and the 20 persons in the offices who are working today? And for the customers and suppliers and truck drivers?

  • Shifts begin 15 minutes later than normal, and end 15 minutes earlier than usual. This leaves a 30-minute gap, thereby ensuring that the shift employees do not mix with each other.
  • The plant is using its extra cafeteria for lunch breaks, to split groups, and is reducing the number of chairs around each table by half. This ensures physical distance between employees.
  • Employees with health issues that could put them at risk, such as heart or respiratory problems, are staying at home.
  • When the facility is open, they leave all gates and doors open. This eliminates the need for people touching doorknobs and handles.
  • Truck drivers are not allowed inside the plant. However, the site has set up two toilets outside, and makes fresh coffee available for drivers waiting for their trucks to be loaded or unloaded.
  • The customer service and purchasing teams are taking responsibility for constantly cleaning the office and its furniture, to prevent possible spread of the virus.
  • No use of cloakrooms and no use of time clock.

“It is a good thing that we work with long profiles for the building industry. They are usually six or seven meters long,” says Mieke. “We get the physical distancing automatically. It would be an issue if we worked with shorter profiles.”

Most employees are working

She says about 80 percent of the employees at Landen are working. The rest are at home. This is not due to infection – none of Landen’s employees have tested positive for the coronavirus – but largely to mental aspects, such as anxiety. Also homework is done when it is possible.

“They are really afraid they will come to work and catch it,” says Mieke. "Every one of us has the same fear. Most of the people can deal with it but not everybody. All employees are satisfied that we have put in clear rules for three weeks now. And every day we fine-tune them to minimize the risk."

“I talk to a lot of people during my walks around the plant. Most know that you can catch it anywhere. But if you have no symptoms, you can work. Every person is caring by contributing to making our workplace safe. In this situation, working is really helping me and all employees to handle the situation we have around us.

“With a clear analysis on our order book, shipped volumes, open and closed customers, and efficient progress in operations, we are defining each week and how we will work the next week.”

Read more on Hydro's actions to contain the spread of the Coronavirus

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