At Venta, caring for our customers, suppliers and employees is a significant part of who we are. Over the past year, it’s been more essential than ever for us to pull together quickly to provide support throughout this challenging time. The Coronavirus pandemic has shifted the way we have worked this past year, as it has for many. As we approached the first lockdown, some of our customers sadly had no choice but to close temporarily, and many of us began working from home. Instead of letting this get us down, we decided to see what we could do to help.
Initially we weren’t sure. The situation was changing rapidly and unexpectedly, and our main expertise was in automotive lighting – not a globally spreading virus! But we soon realised that to help, we didn’t actually need to be medical experts. Our determination proved that with agility, there were plenty of other ways we could offer our help to others.
Offering support to our customers and the community
For our customers who were able to remain open during the first lockdown, our sales team picked up the phone without hesitation to see how we could assist with each of their own business needs. It became evident very quickly that several of our customers were struggling to source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser, so our team set about sourcing it for them right away.
> SUPPLYING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
After contacting the Government Source Line via our local MP, we managed to source some approved PPE. So, we began supplying Tyvek coveralls, masks, gloves and visors to customers who were struggling to source these items themselves. This included the emergency services who we helped to keep going and stay protected as they worked selflessly on the frontline of the pandemic.
> BOTTLING HAND SANITISER
We also started bottling hand sanitiser and supplying it to some of our customers. One of our team is a Chemical Engineer by training and his expertise was crucial to ensure that the hand sanitiser we were providing complied with the strict regulations in place to supply a safe and effective formula against Covid-19.
As the demands for hand sanitiser eased, we donated the remainder of our stock to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to save the lives of seriously ill and injured patients.
> PROVIDING LIGHTING FOR MOBILE COVID-19 TESTING UNITS
As the Covid-19 testing programme picked up pace, we provided the lighting to the two manufacturers of mobile Covid-19 testing units for the government. One of these products was a Traffic Light, designed specifically by Venta. Alternating between red and green depending on whether the testing unit was empty, the light helps to keep people safe and maintain social distancing in the cabins. Mobile Covid-19 testing units were in high demand, and our customers supplying the units were under pressure to deliver. We needed to turn around a lot of product fast, so we worked quickly alongside our customers and halved our usual lead times to help them fulfil the demand, ensuring testing could take place without delay.
Protecting the safety and well-being of our employees
Without a brilliant team of people who truly care, our contributions towards the Coronavirus effort wouldn’t have been feasible. We decided early on not to furlough any of our employees as we value our entire team and wanted to help support each of them throughout the pandemic as best as we could.
> OFFERING FLEXIBLE REMOTE WORKING
Our manufacturing and operations teams have remained onsite throughout the pandemic, ensuring we can continue supplying to our customers. Our office-based team have worked from home where possible, but we have provided a safe environment onsite to ensure that when necessary, staff who need to can come into the office. We have also provided as much flexibility as we could to help protect their mental health and wellbeing. Setting a limit on the number of staff allowed in the office at one time ensures that social distancing can be achieved.
> HANDS, FACE, SPACE
By regularly monitoring government guidance, we ensure that we’re always acting on the most recent advice to protect both our employees and our customers. We are taking precautionary measures very seriously. We follow social distancing rules at all times, hand sanitiser is readily available around the office and in the manufacturing and warehouse areas, Covid-19 tests are carried out twice a week for anyone entering the Venta building, we’ve introduced a contactless door system, and we enforce a strict policy for masks to be worn when staff aren’t at their desks.
> COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Regardless of where we are, strong communication amongst the team has been vital to help us work efficiently and effectively whilst keeping safe. Each morning the whole team connects over Microsoft Teams to run through any important updates. We even participate in the occasional light-hearted quiz and talent show to help keep our spirits high so that we feel positive and ready to tackle each new challenge that comes our way.
As a family-owned business, we have been fortunate enough to have the devoted involvement of our founders to help lead and support the team through every step of the way. Everyone at Venta has pulled together, changed their priorities by the minute and found new ways of working to help support each other and our valued customers. Whilst many of us continue to work remotely, we’re still available in full force to support our customers and the community.