Cecil Oates LinkedIn Post

The COVID-19 pandemic – primarily a health crisis and a human tragedy – is also having far-reaching economic ramifications on global economies. In our African context, it is already disrupting millions of people’s livelihoods with disproportionate impact. It is, however, encouraging to see that leaders across the continent have been proactive enough by taking decisive action – both to save lives and to protect households, businesses and national economies from the fallout of the pandemic.

South Africa was one of the first African countries to take resolute action, with President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing a 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of this novel coronavirus. However, in his presidential address, he also noted that during the lockdown – which came into effect at midnight on Thursday 26 March and will end on 16 April – businesses in the essential goods and services supply chain, those that support people and provide the necessities of life for everyone in the country, should remain operational.

These include food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal and financial services, among others. With a large complement of customers in the essential goods and services supply chain, Goscor Lift Truck Company has made provisions to better support these customers during this time of national need. We have kept our Aftermarket Division, which comprises service and parts, as well as the Rental Division operational to support customers, mainly in the food and fuel supply industries at this stage.

What are we doing?

Our service teams are on the ground, assisting our customers with primarily breakdowns and repairs, while our short-term rental team is supplying forklifts where extra capacity is required to fulfil the demand in critical areas of these essential businesses.

We have teams that are stationed on key sites and for them it’s business as usual, but with specific focus on breakdowns during this period of the lockdown. They will, however, attend to normal scheduled maintenance where they have capacity.

Where we don’t have teams mobilised on site, we have implemented special procedures focused specifically on quick reaction to these key customers. Work is being channelled directly via contract managers, who stay in contact with their respective customers to ensure that their support needs are fulfilled during this critical time.

The contract managers then report all their activities, on a daily basis, to senior management. We have a risk register in place that is updated by all managers on a continuous basis.

With safety in mind, the special procedures we have put in place are aimed at shortening the process, and not exposing too many people to the office. Apart from educating our employees on how to protect themselves during this time, we have also provided them with additional PPE to ensure their maximum safety.

We are also closely managing our parts inventory, given that the supply chain from our different principals is severely disrupted at this point in time. In emergency situations, we may resort to taking parts from our new machines where necessary, and these will get replaced when sanity prevails, once we receive stock from our factories across the globe.

However, we still expect parts to arrive from abroad during this period and this will require special processes to ensure that they are offloaded at the harbour, transported to our premises and then offloaded again at our parts facilities for distribution to our essential goods and services customers.

In neighbouring countries where lockdowns have been implemented, our aftermarket team is responding to these markets in a similar manner to South Africa. Countries further away from our South African base are supported by local dealerships that we have in place in those respective areas.

I am happy to say that all our staff are totally committed to contributing towards carrying the company and our customers through this unchartered territory, and it is my wish that we will all be able to return back to work after the 21 days.