Volume 3 | March 2022
Human-Centered. Solutions Driven.
By Mike Vitek
How did Sandalwood devise new methods and tools to continue delivering trusted solutions to our clients when travel to client sites was restricted?
When you are a systems and solutions based team, our success was largely dictated by our customer-focused, highly-engaged, on-site, collaborative approach. When the pandemic hit, the very livelihood of our business depended on a fundamental change to our standard business model. Little did we know this forced pivot would result in updated systems, processes, norms of work for Sandalwood and significant savings for our clients.
Here’s How We Got There
Historically, our Systems Engineering team members have been asked to perform on-site Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics studies at various facilities around the world.
When we were no longer able to visit facilities for extended periods of time, or at all; Sandalwood needed to devise new methods and tools to continue delivering trusted solutions to our clients.
During this transition in our approach, we used the following method:
First, Sandalwood considered our client:
- What do they need us to do?
- When do they need it?
- What deliverables are acceptable to them?
- How much personal interaction do they need/expect?
Second, Sandalwood considered our team:
- Could the work be done safely?
- Would it be possible to split the work into on-site and remote tasks?
- How could we minimize the amount of travel and on-site time for our resources?
Finally, we considered the technology:
- What tools could be utilized for on-site / remote collaboration?
- What types of tools could be considered for data gathering and documentation?
- What methods could be deployed to standardize the work between our on-site / remote teams?
This pivot and new set of solutions changed the way we work.
One example of this pivot happened in our delivery of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomic Assessments for clients in manufacturing facilities. Typically, all of our Industrial Engineering and Ergonomic Assessments had been completed using a two-person team, each traveling to and spending weeks in select facilities.
With our new solution set, we knew this wouldn’t work.
To remedy this, we chose to divide the work differently, using one onsite resource and one offsite resource in Canada. The initial data gathering was completed with the on-site resource. This information was shared daily, via Microsoft Teams, with the off-site resource. Using a secure VPN connection, the off-site resource was able to update the client systems in the off hours. Analysis was completed collectively each day. When appropriate, the on-site resource conducted a quality assurance review with the client, answered any questions, and forwarded any corrections/updates to the off-site resource.
A Safe Solution
This new approach minimized the exposure and travel time for our resources, while maximizing the time for data collection, collaboration, and analysis.
With new systems in place, driven by innovation, continuous improvement and team safety, we were successful in finding a solution to meet our clients’ needs in a timely and efficient manner with the added bonus of a lower project costs due to our ability to focus resources effectively and eliminate 50% of the travel costs.
As a result, this method has now become our standard.
Is your organization set up to pivot?