When the Maharashtra state government announced a state-wide lockdown on March 20, our first priority was the safety of our colleagues and their families and, having taken care of that, to communicate important messages of support to our customers and suppliers.
The Covid-19 numbers for India as a whole then were just under 200, but what was of great concern was that the country was expected to enter Stage 3 stage of virus transmission. The numbers could then shoot up.
The Chief MInister of Maharashtra had announced a lockdown of Mumbai, where are head office is located, and in the Pimpri-Chinchwad area where the factory is. Anticipating that things could get worse, we gave our customers and suppliers a head-ups that the situation was looking increasingly grim. Already, in the week before, we had some cues of what was to come – rising worker absenteeism. Fearing for their livelihoods, and the worst, workers were leaving the area where our plant is situated, returning to the presumed safety of their villages and towns.
Days later, the OEMs begun to shut their facilities. For us, the immediate concern was the safety and well being of our employees, and at the same coordinating with our suppliers in order to minimise uncertainty and disruption. We are a single-source supplier to many of our OEM customers and we owe it to them to communicate how things were panning out in our part of the country.
At that time, none of us could have imagined within 72 hours, an entire country-wide lockdown would be announced. Since then, our leadership team has been coordinating sharing updates with all stakeholders on the developing Covid situation as well as other updates from local-level authorities.
Since the lockdown kicked in from midnight of March 24-25, our leadership team has been asked to be in touch with their teams as well as respective external stakeholders, and suppliers offering whatever support we can offer.
The Covid-19 situation changes by the hour, and this uncertainty means we cannot predict what will happen in the next few hours and days. The virus is now rampant in parts of Europe and the USA as government and medical authorities pull out all stops to contain its spread. All transport and air links have been shut down. Borders have been sealed. These are unprecedented times for all of us in this generation, and for the world.
I would like to appreciate both the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra taking decisive steps to contain the spread of the virus, and ensure that essential supplies are coming in and law and order is being maintained. We also owe our gratitude to those on the frontline of this crisis -- medical personnel, the police and many other unknown people who have stepped up and are doing what it takes to ensure that our society is safe.
Many other OEMs are also helping out in different ways. SIAM and ACMA are also reaching out to help stakeholders forming taskforces to manage the situation from a human and business perspective, and ensuring that we are all safe and looked after, and doing what it takes to come out of this crisis in the best way possible. We are proud to be a part of this community. This is a tremendous nation-building effort.
This is also our time to reach out to those who have been affected by the crisis, and to do what we can to support our communities.
Vijay Sujan is CEO of Sujan ContiTech AVS Pvt Ltd and Polyrub CooperStandard