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International Women’s Day: Celebrating women’s contributions in fighting the pandemic

From climate-related disasters to societal crises, 2020 was a turbulent year. But the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, proving to be the biggest challenge yet since the Second World War. As countries and healthcare systems struggle to contain the virus and save lives, essential services such as the logistics sector rose to the call, tapping on creative solutions and technology to channel much-needed supplies to where they are most needed. 

This makes this year’s International Women’s Day’s theme, #ChooseToChallenge, all the meaningful, as the pandemic brought out the human spirit’s resilience and will to effect change, and triumph in the face of adversity. In this second blog post, we speak to various Branch Managers in Rhenus China, with its largest footprint in Asia-Pacific. Bell Ding (Qingdao), Carol He (Guangzhou), Cindy Su (Chengdu), Jessie Wang (Tianjin), Joanna Zou (Xiamen) and Susanna Chen (Ningbo) share their experiences, as well as their contributions to the on-going fight against the pandemic.

What were the main problems/challenges faced since the onset of the pandemic? 
 

Susanna: During the pandemic, schools were shut down, and it was a challenge to try and do our jobs in the office, while taking care of our families. Some of our colleagues came up with the idea to bring their children to the office as they worked. It turned out well as our management was supportive of our colleagues and made mental well-being a priority, especially during this difficult period.

Jessie: The main challenge we faced since the onset of the pandemic was the chaos on the logistics front. The scale of the pandemic and the fast-evolving situation was at an unprecedented level. Working remotely, the team had to stay online almost 24/7 with our overseas offices to develop new solutions for our customers and ensure a well-managed supply chain.

What were the areas/initiatives that you led the team on? 

Cindy: We supported various projects to help deliver healthcare essentials worldwide. With our vast network and comprehensive solutions, we were well-equipped to coordinate and adapt our resources to complete the deliveries. The team in Chengdu worked with our colleagues in Barcelona to transport masks donated by Chinese companies, from Spain to Wuhan, which was badly affected at that time. Subsequently, we worked with the Chengdu Women and Children’s Hospital to transport the first batch of donated in-vitro reagents to Switzerland to Swiss hospitals.

Why did you and your team decide to embark on these initiatives? 

Cindy: Survival is a fundamental human instinct, and the fight against the pandemic is a joint initiative that goes beyond borders, and of top priority. As a leading global logistics provider, we have the social responsibility to play our part, and contribute towards the international cooperation efforts, and contribute in the pandemic efforts.

Was your work disrupted by the pandemic? How did you cope? (What were the sacrifices made?)

Joanna: The pandemic derailed many of our standard operating processes. As a result, we had to increase our frequency of trips, relook existing solutions and reconfigure the options available. The unpredictable nature of our work in this pandemic also meant that many of us put in extra hours to ensure that customer experience was not compromised.

Bell: The team had to adapt to working from home. Some of our colleagues had their computers shifted home, and relied on virtual group chats to update businesses. I’m proud that the team was flexible and reacted quickly to the circumstances and found alternative solutions to ensure the smooth running of standard services customers.

Who are you thankful for, in overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic? And why? 

Bell: I am thankful to our company and colleagues. During the period when masks were scarce, our Shanghai headquarters arranged to send a few months’ worth of masks for all employees in Greater China. The Qingdao team also showed great resilience, doing whatever necessary to support colleagues and customers during this time.  Even during the Spring Festival period, when there was a burst of Covid-19 cases locally, our IT colleague came over to Qingdao to help us with the base installations for our new office. It is very heartwarming to work in such a supportive company.

Carol: I thank my teammates for their hard work and grit in the past year. Together we have overcome various difficulties and achieved good results for the company in 2020. I am also grateful to the management for cultivating such a warm and conducive work environment, and sparing no efforts in ensuring that we were well-taken care of so that together we will tide over this crisis. 

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Rhenus SE & Co. KG
Rhenus-Platz 1
59439 Holzwickede
Germany
E-Mail: info@de.rhenus.com