We are currently experiencing one of the most challenging periods in modern history. Several days ago, I got to speak with PCB Technologies CEO, Oved Shapira, about the effects of COVID-19 on him and the company he heads.
How do you carry out your role as CEO in these days?
My major role is to give people the confidence that, in spite of the extreme conditions we have all been forced to deal with, we can execute our plans and keep on our people’s health and jobs. I share my time between the PCB Technologies office and my home office, while keeping a busy business calendar — Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! Yet, I maintain social distancing on one hand and stay present with the people who come to the plant every day on the other.
Was the company prepared for this crisis?
Nobody was able to be prepared for such an impact on our day-to-day business and private lives. The challenge was how quickly we could react and make adjustments to our best practices and level of implementation. I am proud to say that the reaction by the people of PCB in all levels was outstanding; they showed their discipline and dedication to adopt the new guidelines of work.
“…Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!”
What has changed with regard to company operations?
A lot has changed. We have built an ad hoc management team with the name “Winning the Corona A Team” to deal with everything related to social distancing, protection of employees, and avoiding surface contamination.
We have created a long-distance home office solution for almost 200 people, and built in organic shifts for the production floor, while opening new shifts for employees with children at home. The team has searched for every possible treatment of contamination, through human breathing or touch, and have found a creative solution to keep the operation running, but without compromising people’s safety.
Will jobs be preserved?
Yes. This was one of our priorities. It isn’t enough just to focus on people’s safety, but let them lose their jobs or income. We organize in a way that enables us to keep the vast majority of the jobs, and gives flexibility to people who cannot come to work due to new conditions.
Luckily, we are dealing mainly with medical and military equipment, so our deal flow looks positive for the time being, and we are able to deliver most of our commitments on time.
Are there any new company actions directly linked to the pandemic?
Definitely. We measure the body temperature of all employees in the plant at the check-in point every day, and give them all the necessary equipment to protect themselves, including masks, gloves and special uniforms, if needed. Our catering and coffee area service was adjusted to new hygienic requirements by adding more people and tools to avoid surface contamination.
“Luckily, we are dealing mainly with medical and military equipment, so our deal flow looks positive…”
What is your leadership credo?
A crisis is also an opportunity, and in order to get that opportunity, you need the people to be with you. So, people first! This includes sharing your thoughts, transparency about decisions, and personal care.
This crisis is also a big opportunity for our all-in-one strategy, where we offer our customers all they need, from design of the PCB, all the way to assembly of PCBA and box building.
Flexibility and agility is also part of the leadership message. We can’t use the exact same guidelines we used yesterday for tomorrow, and we must be open to adjustments. Some of them will not be comfortable or popular at the beginning, but will pay off down the road.
Last, but not least, believe in ourselves, stay positive, and look for how we can make fresh lemonade from the lemon.