In this blog, I will discuss the challenges our company faced when procuring new laptops and other hardware to our colleagues around the world during a global pandemic, and how we overcome these challenges to reach success.
What drives a company forward?
There are many different things that drive a company forward, and help to create success.
I am the Head of ICT-OP Systems at Comfone, so from my perspective, one of the things that drives a company is the working infrastructure, the hardware and the ICT systems.
An ambitious target
At the end of 2020, the Comfone ICT team faced a big challenge.
We started a major workplace rollout of new laptops to all staff.
In normal times this is a big job, due to the international nature of Comfone. We have colleagues all over the world, so trying to deliver new hardware always takes a lot of planning.
This problem was exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic, meaning that people cannot travel, computer parts were delayed and customs declarations become more complex.
However, I’m glad to say that the team and the company really rose to the challenge!
Rising to the challenge
In late 2020 and early 2021, Switzerland was in a state of lockdown, which meant that we had to carefully consider and plan how to hand out the new laptops and other hardware.
Deploying with the ‘state of the art’ CCM gave us flexibility so we could prepare everything before the notebooks even arrived, to ensure that everything went as planned.
We remained in close contact with the Federal Office for Public Health in Switzerland, and were able to hand out new notebooks to employees following all regulations.
Sending hardware abroad: the challenges
In order to meet the needs of our colleagues based overseas, the hardware was send to 11 different countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, USA, Indonesia, Macedonia, Ukraine, Fiji, Guatemala, Thailand, Singapore, Moldova, Malaysia.
During this process, we faced many barriers that we had to overcome, which were certainly made more difficult with COVID-19. It was impossible to travel at all, which meant we had to do everything remotely, and with mandatory home office requirements for much of the time, this certainly made things much more complicated!
I have detailed some of the challenges that we needed to overcome below…
Chip shortage: during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, many industries shut down factories which led to a shortage of chips needed for the new notebooks. We had to order in advance and wait until what we needed became available.
Longer delivery period: a knock-on effect of the chip shortage meant that there was a much longer delivery period on the new laptops.
Change of employees: it’s normal in any place of work to have employees joining and leaving the company. Due to the longer delivery times, we had to try and anticipate the outcomes so that we had the correct amount of laptops on order.
Language: our colleagues are based around the world, and work in different languages. In order to ensure all COVID regulations were met, we tried to limit face-to-face meetings as much as possible. This ultimately meant pre-programming as much as possible, so we set up language preferences, requirements and many more things before handing over the laptops.
Delivery and customs: organising the delivery of laptops overseas is always challenging, but thanks to COVID delays and restrictions, with quarantine of certain goods to stop the spread of any viruses, things took much longer than normal.
Configuring software remotely: we have a number of security measures set up on our laptops, and it was important to configure external access for the first login for employees based overseas, so that when they received their new laptops they could just switch them on, make it through login and start working without any glitches!
Creating documentation: the new laptops featured a new operating system, so it was important to create documentation to explain the new tools, systems and features.
Rising to the challenge
Thanks to the good work of my team and other external partners, it was possible to successfully complete this project.
Your workplace is where you spend most of the day.
That’s why it was important for me to ensure our colleagues have the best tools in order to complete their work successfully. I’m proud of the team for overcoming the challenges of this project in order to create a positive change for our colleagues.